Ukraine war live updates: Moscow admits flagship ‘seriously damaged’ amid claims it was sunk

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Russian Navy Captain Alexander Shvarts stands in front of an artillery system on the Russian missile cruiser Moskva as it patrols off the coast of Syria in December 2015.

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It is day 50 of the war in Ukraine, as Russian forces are expected to begin a new big offensive in the east of the country after their retreat from the Kyiv region and other parts of the country revealed growing evidence of human rights atrocities.

Despite Moscow’s blanket denials, horrific discoveries of civilian murders, torture and other barbaric acts continue coming to light, with Ukrainian authorities claiming tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Mariupol alone.

Kyiv forces continue to prepare for the renewed assault, while Western nations keep tightening sanctions against Moscow and NATO and condemnations of Vladimir Putin’s actions continue to grow.

Follow Thursday’s events as they unfold in our blog below, or watch TV coverage in the video player above.

06:44

Thursday’s key points:

    The Kremlin admitted its Black Sea Fleet flagship, Moskva, was “heavily damaged” after Odesa region’s governor said the ship was hit by Ukrainian rockets and most likely sunk.

    Mariupol’s mayor claims Russian planes dropped chemical agent on the outskirts of the southern port city on 11 April.

    Leaders of Poland and the Baltic trio met with Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Wednesday, but Germany’s president was not with them as planned after being told he wouldn’t be welcome.

    Joe Biden accused Vladimir Putin of “genocide”, stating that the Russian leader is trying to “wipe out” Ukraine.

    Vladimir Putin vows Russia’s goals in Ukraine will be achieved as they press on with military action. He said the negotiations were now in a deadlock.

    At least 720 civilians were killed in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs, with another 200 missing, Ukrainian authorities said on Wednesday.

    More than 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, with millions being displaced internally, mostly in the western parts of the country.

    Additionally, 4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been displaced since 24 February, said UNICEF.

07:35

Zelenskyy expresses gratitude to Western allies who ‘helped us from first day’

In his late-night address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude for the visit by the presidents of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

He said the leaders “have helped us from the first day, those who did not hesitate to give us weapons, those who did not doubt whether to impose sanctions.”

Zelenskyy also said he’s “sincerely thankful” to the US for the new round of $800 million (€732.8m) in military assistance.

In his telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden, Zelenskyy said they discussed the new weapons shipment, even tougher sanctions against Russia and efforts to bring to justice those Russian soldiers who committed war crimes in Ukraine.

07:28

Ukrainian authorities deny Moscow’s claim of Mariupol troops surrender

A Ukrainian official has rejected Russia’s claims that more than 1,000 Ukrainian troops have surrendered in the besieged southeastern port of Mariupol.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday that 1,026 troops from the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade surrendered at a metals plant in the city.

But Vadym Denysenko, advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, denied the claim in comments to the Current Time TV channel, saying that they haven’t heard anything like that and the battle over the seaport is ongoing.

“According to official data of [Ukraine’s] Defense Ministry and the General Staff, we haven’t heard anything like that,” Denysenko said. “Moreover, I will say […] that the battle over the seaport is still ongoing today.”

07:28

UN report: Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine could destroy economies of developing countries

A UN task force is warning in a new report that Russia’s war against Ukraine threatens to devastate the economies of many developing countries that are now facing even higher food and energy costs and increasingly difficult financial conditions.

Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the UN agency promoting trade and development who coordinated the task force, said 107 countries have “severe exposure” to at least one dimension of the food, energy and finance crisis. 

Another 69 countries are severely exposed to all three and face “very difficult financial conditions with no fiscal space, and with no external financing to cushion the blow,” she stated.

The report urges countries to ensure a steady flow of food and energy through open markets, and it calls on international financial institutions to do everything possible to ensure more liquidity immediately.

07:11

Russia admits its flagship ‘seriously damaged’

Ukrainian forces in the Odesa region have struck the Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva with two missiles and caused “serious damage,” governor Maksym Marchenko said on Wednesday night.

Moskva is the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, made infamous during the capture of Ukraine’s Snake Island early on in the war.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the ship was damaged on early Thursday, but not that it was hit by Ukraine.

The Ministry says ammunition on board detonated as a result of a fire — whose causes “were being established” — and the Moskva’s entire crew was evacuated.

07:01

Child casualties ‘almost certainly’ much higher than reported, humanitarian org claims

Although reports claim that at least 153 children were killed in the war in Ukraine so far, Save the Children fears the number could be much higher, the international humanitarian organisation said in a statement on Thursday.

The UN has been able to verify the deaths of 153 children and recorded 246 injured so far, although the real number is almost certainly much higher. 

“All children in Ukraine are in imminent danger as an increasing number of hospitals and schools come under attack,” Save the Children said.

The latest data from the UN estimates that 2.8 million children are now displaced within Ukraine and another two million have fled to neighbouring countries. This means 64% of Ukraine’s children, or 4.8 million, are now on the move.

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