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Russia says flagship of Black Sea fleet badly damaged by blast -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: After tracking NATO warships at the Black Sea, the Russian Navy’s guided-missile cruiser Moskva returns to a port in Sevastopol. It was there that the Russian Navy’s guided-missile cruiser Moskva was able to sail back into the harbour. REUTERS/Alexey Pallyishak/File Photograph

Pavel Polityuk, Oleksandr Kolukhar

(Reuters) – Russia said Thursday that the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship was severely damaged. The crew had to be evacuated after an explosion and a fire. A Ukrainian official claimed the ship had been struck by missiles.

According to Interfax, the incident occurred on the Moskva cruiser missile ship after the ammunition aboard exploded.

It stated in a statement that “as a result of a fire at the Moskva missile-cruiser, ammunition detonated”.

MaksymMarchenko, the governor of the Black Sea region of Odesa stated online that the ship of 12,500 tonnes was struck by two missiles. He did not provide any evidence.

In an online posting, he stated that “Neptune’s missiles guarding Black Sea caused serious damage.”

Reuters could not independently verify the accounts.

Late Wednesday, Ukraine said that Russia had intensified its efforts in South and East to take control of Mariupol. This would make it the largest city in Russia.

Western nations are increasing their military support for Kyiv.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that 1 026 soldiers, 162 officers and members of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade surrendered to Russia in Mariupol. This port had been held hostage for many weeks.

By capturing the Azovstal Industrial District, the Russians could take control of Ukraine’s largest Sea of Azov port. They would also be strengthening a southern land corridor to expand their presence in the East.

According to the general staff of Ukraine, Russian forces are attacking Azovstal port and Azovstal. A defense ministry spokesperson denied any such claims.

In a video message on Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zilenskiy stated that Russian forces were increasing their activity at the eastern and southern fronts in an attempt to win their defeats.

Reuters journalists who were accompanying Russian-backed separatists witnessed flames rising from Azovstal on Tuesday. This was just days after Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade claimed that its troops have run out of ammunition.

On Wednesday, the United States declared an additional $800 million for military aid. This includes artillery systems and armoured personnel carriers as well as helicopters. The total U.S. military assistance now stands at more than $2.5 Billion. France and Germany pledged even more.

A source close to the matter said that senior U.S. officials were considering sending a high-ranking cabinet member, such as Austin Lloyd, Defense Secretary and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Kyiv to show solidarity.

Russia would view U.S.- and NATO-transported weapons onto Ukrainian territory as legitimate military targets according to Sergei Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister.

Interfax quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying that it will impose tit for tat sanctions against 398 U.S. House of Representatives Members and 87 Canadian Senators. This comes after Washington targeted 328 members of Russia’s lower chamber of parliament.

Britain announces new financial measures for separatists

« LIBERATE US FROM…»

The Ukraine claims that tens-of thousands of people were killed at Mariupol. It also accuses Russia for blocking humanitarian convoys to those civilians who are still stranded in the area.

Vadym Boichenko was the mayor of this city. He claimed that Russia brought mobile crematoria to “get rid of evidence of War Crimes” — a claim which proved impossible to confirm.

Moscow has accused Kyiv and Ukraine of civilian casualties, while accusing Kyiv denigrating Russian armed force.

The message for Ukrainians was posted on the wall at a Russian-occupied house in Lubianka (northwest of Kyiv), where Russian forces attempted and failed subdue Kyiv.

It said, “We didn’t want this… forgive us.”

According to the Kremlin, it has launched “special military operations” in Ukraine to “liberate” and demilitarize Ukraine. This message was repeated by the Russian troops according to the villagers.

To liberate us, from whom? Viktor Shaposhnikov of Lubianka said, “We’re peaceful…We’re Ukrainians.”

On a visit in Kyiv, Andrzej Duda, Polish president, stated that all those responsible for or ordering crimes should be tried.

Germany’s President did not attend the meeting as planned.

Zelenskiy claimed that no official approach was made and that one of his officials refuted a newspaper report saying he would reject the visit due Steinmeier’s good relations to Moscow.

Commentary on BIDEN’S Genocide

Dmitry Peskov said this unacceptable, and President Joe Biden was criticized for describing Moscow’s actions as genocide.

According to U.S. Ambassador to OSCE, a preliminary report was prepared by an expert mission by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It documented a “catalogue inhumanity” of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Michael Carpenter claimed that this included evidence of the direct targeting of civilians and attacks on medical facilities as well as rape, executions or looting of civilians forced to flee Russia.

Russia denies targeting civilians, and claims that Western and Ukrainian allegations of war crimes were fabricated.

Chief of Kyiv District Police said that 720 bodies were discovered in the area around Kiev capital, where Russian forces were retreating. There are more than 200 missing.

According to the mayor of Kharkiv in Ukraine’s northeast, the bombing levels had risen significantly since Wednesday. Satellite photos taken by Maxar Technologies (NYSE) also showed large columns of armored vehicles throughout the area.

Oleh Synehubov, the regional governor, stated that Ukrainian forces took down two Russian fighter planes from attacking cities in the region.

Reuters couldn’t immediately confirm his statements, but filmed Kharkiv residents carrying the bodies of those living in an apartment block that was shelled.

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