Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Russian flagship ‘remains afloat’ after munitions explosion: Ministry

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Britain said on Wednesday it had imposed new sanctions on 206 individuals in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including 178 who it said were involved in propping up Russian-backed breakaway regions of Ukraine.

Kyiv said Tuesday that ongoing talks with Russia to end the war were “extremely difficult” after Moscow accused Ukrainian negotiators of slowing down discussions by changing demands.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday that he had offered to visit Ukraine with other EU leaders, but Kyiv had told him his trip was “not wanted”.

Here are the latest updates:


Russian flagship ‘remains afloat’ after munitions explosion: ministry

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Thursday its Black Sea flagship Moskva, which was involved in Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, is still afloat after a fire set off ammunitions explosions onboard.

“There is no open fire. The ammunitions explosions have stopped. The Moskva cruiser remains afloat,” the Ministry said in a statement.

It added that the warship’s “main missile armaments” were not harmed and its crew has been evacuated to nearby ships in the Black Sea.

“Measures are ongoing to tow the cruiser into port,” the Ministry said.


Ukraine’s Kharkiv governor: 4 killed, 10 injured in shelling

The governor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Oleh Synyegubov, said four civilians had been killed and 10 wounded during Russian shelling of the city of Kharkiv on Thursday.

Reuters could not immediately verify Synyegubov’s remarks.

In a statement, the Kharkiv region governor also urged residents of some towns to evacuate since he said military operations were expected to take place in the area – Reuters


Russia already has nuclear weapons in the Baltic region, says Lithuania

Russia already has nuclear weapons in the Baltic region, Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said on Thursday.

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the U.S.-led military alliance then Russia would have to bolster its defences in the region, including by deploying nuclear weapons.

Anusauskas told Lithuania’s BNS wire that nuclear weapons have been deployed in Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea since before the current crisis.

“The current Russian threats look quite strange, when we know that, even without the present security situation, they keep the weapon 100 km from Lithuania’s border,” the minister was quoted by the wire on Thursday.

“Nuclear weapons have always been kept in Kaliningrad … the international community, the countries in the region, are perfectly aware of this … They use it as a threat,” he was quoted.

Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, on the shore of the Baltic Sea, is sandwiched between NATO members Lithuania and Poland.


Ukraine says missiles hit Russia’s Black Sea fleet, Russia says crew evacuated due to fire

Ukrainian forces said they hit and badly damaged the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, and Russia said its crew was forced to evacuate as a result of a fire without acknowledging an attack, as the battle shifts east and around the battered city of Mariupol where the defenders were still holding out.

The governor of the Odesa region, Maksym Marchenko, said the Ukrainians struck the guided-missile cruiser Moskva with two missiles and caused “serious damage.”

Russia’s Defence Ministry confirmed the ship was damaged but not that it was hit by Ukraine — it said ammunition on board detonated as a result of a fire of as-yet undetermined causes. The entire crew was evacuated, it added; the cruiser typically has about 500 on board.


Russian flagship ‘seriously damaged’ as Moscow threatens to strike Kyiv

Russia’s Black Sea flagship involved in the naval assault on Ukraine has been “seriously damaged” by an explosion, state media reported on Thursday, as Moscow threatened to strike Kyiv’s command centres.

It was unclear what caused the explosion on the Moskva missile cruiser, with both sides giving conflicting reports.

Russia’s defence ministry was quoted as saying the damage was caused by ammunition detonating “as a result of a fire”, adding that the cause of the blaze was being investigated. 

But a spokesman for the Odessa military administration, Sergey Bratchuk, said on Telegram that “according to available data, the cause of the ‘serious damage’ was ‘Neptune’ domestic cruise missiles”. – AFP


Russia, contesting elections to 4 UN committees, loses all

Russia, contesting elections to four UN committees, lost all of them, including one to Ukraine, a verdict being seen as Moscow’s isolation on the global stage.

Elections were held in the United Nations Economic and Social Council on Wednesday to fill various vacancies in subsidiary and related bodies.

Russia was contesting elections to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, UN Women Executive Board, UNICEF Executive Board and Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. – PTI


Neighbours back Ukraine, demand accountability for war crimes

The presidents of four countries on Russia’s doorstep toured war-ravaged areas near the Ukrainian capital and demanded accountability for what they called war crimes, as Kyiv and Moscow gave conflicting accounts of what happened to a badly damaged missile cruiser that is the flagship vessel of Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea.

Wednesday’s visit by the leaders of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia was a strong show of solidarity from the countries on NATO’s eastern flank, three of them like Ukraine once part of the Soviet Union. They travelled by train to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to meet with their counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and visited Borodyanka, one of the nearby towns where evidence of atrocities was found after Russian troops withdrew to focus on the country’s east. – PTI


Russian flagship ‘seriously damaged’ as Moscow threatens to strike Kyiv

Russia’s Black Sea flagship involved in the naval assault on Ukraine has been “seriously damaged” by an explosion, state media reported Thursday, as Moscow threatened to strike Kyiv’s command centres. – AFP


UN says Ukraine war threatens to devastate many poor nations

Russia’s war on Ukraine threatens to devastate the economies of many dev eloping countries that are now facing even higher food and energy costs and increasingly difficult financial conditions, a UN task force warned.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released the report saying that the war is “supercharging” a crisis in food, energy and finance in poorer countries that were already struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and a lack of access to adequate funding for economic recovery. – PTI


Joe Biden approves $800 million in new military assistance for Ukraine

In anticipation of a new Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine, President Joe Biden has approved an $800 million package of military assistance, including additional helicopters and the first provision of American artillery.

The Ukrainians also will receive armoured personnel carriers, armoured Humvees, naval drone vessels used in coastal defence, and gear and equipment used to protect soldiers in chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological attacks.

“This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,” Mr. Biden said in a statement on April 13.


Russia to seek alternative to European energy market: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Moscow will be looking into alternative markets for its energy exports after Western capitals sanctioned Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.

Since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia has faced a barrage of unprecedented sanctions, including embargoes on its energy exports.

“We have all the resources and opportunities to quickly find alternative solutions,” Mr. Putin said during a televised government meeting on the development of the Russian Arctic. – AFP


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