War in Ukraine: Moscow: flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet sank

As announced Thursday evening by the defense ministry in Moscow, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet sank. Ukraine had already claimed the day before that it had hit the “Moskva” with two rockets and even sunk it. Moscow denied and said a fire broke out after the ammunition explosion.

The ship, which was last located off the Ukrainian port of Odessa, has a crew of around 500 and played an important role in sea-launched missile attacks against Ukraine. Until Thursday morning, the Russian army had stressed that the fire could be contained and the warship would be towed to port. The most important weapons of the “Moskva” have not been damaged and the ship is not in danger of sinking. The ship has a tonnage of 12,500. Not such a large warship has sunk since World War II.

The command ship is for Russia of great symbolic importance, since it has been used over and over for diplomatic purposes in addition to its military use. The Atlant-class missile cruiser was designed as an aircraft carrier destroyer. In 1983 she was put into operation in Soviet times under the name “Slava” (Gloria). The 186-meter long warship, renamed Moskva (Moscow) in May 1995, was armed with 16 Basalt / Wulkan anti-ship missiles – the naval version of the long-range S-300 missiles – and short-range Osa missiles. She also had rocket launchers and torpedoes.

The ship was first used in an armed conflict in Georgia in August 2008. After Russia intervened in the Syrian war alongside ruler Bashar al-Assad, the “Moskva” was deployed in the eastern Mediterranean in September. 2015 and January 2016. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian Hmeimim Air Base in Syria has been secured.

Since 24 February, the missile cruiser has also been involved in the Russian offensive against Ukraine. At the start of the conflict, the ship attacked the Ukrainian island of the snake near the Romanian border. Radio communications with Ukrainian border guards on the island went viral: when asked to surrender, border guards replied: “Fuck you!”. Shortly thereafter, the “Moskva” and the “Vasily Bykov” ship bombed the island and the Ukrainian soldiers were captured.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine

Meanwhile, fighting between Russian troops that invaded Ukraine on February 24 and the Ukrainian army is increasingly concentrated in the east of the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that more and more Russian military convoys are heading towards southeastern Ukraine. The rocket, bomb and artillery attacks would be continued by the attackers, Zelenskii said in his evening video speech.

According to the Ukrainian armed forces, they repelled eight Russian attacks in the eastern regions Donetsk and Luhansk Street. According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, nine evacuation corridors should be opened today for the evacuation of cities in the east of the country. One of the routes should then lead out of the besieged city of Mariupol. Others are planned for the cities of Berdyansk, Tokmak and Enerhodar, among others. Corridors will open until Russian troops stop firing, explains Wereshchuk.

According to Russian troops, they fired on an airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro. During the night there was a fighter pilot of the type MiG-29, a helicopter Mil Mi-8 as well as one Bayraktar-type combat drone been destroyed, the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said, Igor Konashenkov, Thursday morning. In addition, two weapons depots were attacked in the Odessa and Donetsk regions. Konashenkov also claimed that 1,160 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered in the highly contested port city of Mariupol and were taken prisoner by the Russians.

Ukraine repeatedly refuses such information and, despite the difficult situation in the metropolis on the Sea of ​​Azov, is confident in victory. “Mariupol was, is and will remain a Ukrainian city,” Mayor Wadym Bojchenko said Thursday in the ARD’s “Morgenmagazin”. He called the alleged capitulation of the Ukrainian fighters “false news”. The politician is not in the city, but he is said to be still in Ukraine.

According to information from Reuters, European security circles have said that Russia’s withdrawal from northwest Ukraine has now been fully completed. Ukraine once again controls the border with neighboring Belarus. Most of the Russian units stationed in Belarus had been relocated east to attack Ukraine’s Donbass region. There, pro-Russian separatists have controlled the areas around the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk since 2014. The Russian government said the purpose of the attacks was to take over the entire Donbass region, which is rich in natural resources.

The governor of the Russian region Bryansk accused Ukraine of bombing a town near the border. “Today the Ukrainian armed forces bombed the village of Klimovo,” Alexander Bogomas told Telegram’s online service on Thursday. “As a result of the bombing, two houses were damaged and some residents were injured.” Klimovo is located about ten kilometers from the Ukrainian border and has about 13,000 inhabitants. Also on Thursday, the Ukrainian side fired at a border checkpoint where more than 30 Ukrainian refugees were trying to enter Russia, Tass news agency reported, citing the Russian secret service FSB. As always, the information cannot be verified by an independent party.

released prisoners of war

According to Kiev, 30 Ukrainian POWs were released in another prisoner exchange with Russia. “Five officers and 17 military personnel were exchanged. Eight civilians, including one woman, were also released,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Thursday.

The president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskii Moscow offered Wednesday evening to swap pro-Russian businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, who had been captured in Ukraine, for Ukrainian prisoners of war. The Kremlin refused. The businessman, considered a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “has nothing to do with the special military operation,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

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