Zelenskiy calls on world leaders to attend Ukraine ‘peace summit’ after deadly Kharkiv strike

Conflicts 16:10 26.05.2024

The Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has released a desperate video plea calling on world leaders to attend a “peace summit” next month in Switzerland, after a deadly Russian attack on a DIY hypermarket in Kharkiv on Saturday killed 12 people and injured dozens more, Ednews reports via The Guardian.

Zelenskiy appealed in particular to the US president, Joe Biden, and the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to attend the summit, which is due to start on 15 June. “Please, show your leadership in advancing the peace – the real peace and not just a pause between the strikes,” said Zelenskiy in English.

Biden has not yet confirmed his attendance and it is not known whether China will attend – “negotiations are ongoing” over Beijing’s participation, said Zelenskiy’s aide Mykhailo Podolyak in an interview last week.

Saturday’s strike came at the end of a week in which daily Russian missile and air strikes terrorised Ukraine’s second city, with hits on a printing house, numerous residential areas and a central park, among other targets. In most cases, there were no obvious military targets nearby.

The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, said about 120 people had been in the hardware store on Saturday afternoon. “The attack targeted the shopping centre, where there were many people – this is clearly terrorism,” he said.

Prosecutors said 12 people had died, of whom 10 had not yet been identified, and 43 injured. A further 16 people are missing after the strike. A separate, early evening missile strike hit a residential building in the centre of the city, injuring 18 people, according to the regional governor.

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