Medvedev warns that Russia would strengthen the army in the face of possible NATO membership of Sweden and Finland

The Russian navy cruiser Moskva, bottom, is seen in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, April 7. (Satellite image ©2022MaxarTechnologies)

Thursday marks 50 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and there has been a marked change in Moscow’s approach. Ukrainian officials have warned for days that they expect a major offensive by Russian forces in the eastern Donbass region.

The United States and the EU have pledged an additional $1.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine as Russia prepares to launch an offensive in the east.

Meanwhile, organizations like the United Nations have warned that the protracted war in Ukraine could lead to more problems in an already struggling global economy, with food insecurity a major concern.

Here are the latest developments:

Victims of war: As of April 12, the civilian death toll in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24 stood at 1,932, the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) announced on Thursday. He warned that “the actual numbers are considerably higher”.

Global impact: The UN secretary-general has warned that the world is on the verge of a “perfect storm” as the war in Ukraine exacerbates an already struggling global economy. In a press release on Wednesday, the UN said the war could lead to a “three-dimensional crisis” in food, energy and finance – areas that have already been hit hard by Covid-19. and climate change. “We are now facing a perfect storm that threatens to devastate the economies of developing countries,” said Secretary-General António Guterres. “The people of Ukraine cannot bear the violence inflicted on them. And the most vulnerable people in the world cannot become collateral damage in another disaster for which they are not responsible,” he said.

Key Damaged Russian Warship: One of the Russian Navy’s most important warships was badly damaged in the Black Sea, a blow to an army battling Ukrainian resistance 50 days after Russia invaded its neighbor. Russian sailors have evacuated the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of its Black Sea Fleet, after a fire blew up munitions on board, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command said on Thursday that the Moskva began to sink after being hit by Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the Moskva “remains afloat” and that steps are being taken to tow it to port. The ministry said the crew had been evacuated to other Black Sea Fleet ships in the area. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told CNN’s Brianna Keilar that “there was an explosion” on the Moskva, but said the United States could not say at this stage whether the ship had been hit by a missile. Whatever the reason for the fire, analysts say it strikes hard at the hearts of the Russian Navy as well as national pride, comparable to the US Navy’s loss of a battleship in World War II or an aircraft carrier today.

Ukrainian national security adviser Oleksiy Danilov told CNN on Thursday that the alleged strike on the cruiser was a very important mission for his country’s military and promised that there would be other such dramatic actions. “This is a very important mission for us. The Moskva was there near Snake Island and was hit by two powerful Ukrainian-made missiles yesterday,” Danilov told CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen in an interview. “[Putin] came to kill our children, our women, our civilians. This is our gift to him. And that’s only the beginning. There will be more than one Moskva.” Ukraine’s national security adviser then praised the Ukrainian military for the way it defends the country, but warned against underestimating the Russian military. Danilov also reiterated his country’s request to the international community to send more “We are above all grateful for what we have already received,” he said, “we need helicopters, planes, powerful weapons, howitzers… We need a lot”.

Potential meeting between Zelensky and Putin: Turkey is still working on organizing a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish news channel NTV on Thursday. to bring the leaders together,” he said. Cavusoglu said Turkey continues to approach negotiations with “cautious optimism”, especially after recent events of alleged war crimes in Bucha and Irpin which “affected the process negatively”.

The condition of a possible meeting between Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky is a document of agreement ready to be signed by the two leaders, announced Thursday the Kremlin. Since the start of the Russian invasion, Zelensky has repeatedly called for talks with the Russian president, but there have been no top-level talks so far.

Russian opposition figure urges West to launch social network against Putin’s regime: Russian opponent Alexei Navalny has posted a series of tweets calling for a new “truth and free information” front against Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he calls the “Kremlin war criminal”.

Navalny, who is serving a nine-year sentence in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of fraud last month, said in his tweets that “truth and free information hit Putin’s insane regime as hard as the Javelins.” , American anti-tank weapons. used by Ukrainian forces against Russian armour.

Increase in international defense assistance for Ukraine: The Pentagon is working to get the $800 million worth of weapons, ammunition and other security aid announced by US President Joe Biden yesterday to Ukraine as soon as possible, a senior official said Thursday. responsible for defense. “We have no illusions about the size and scale of this thing. But we are also aware of the clock. We know time is not our friend. And we’re going to do our best to move that, to move those shipments as quickly as possible,” the official told reporters during an off-camera briefing.

The European Union on Wednesday approved an additional 500 million euros ($544 million) for military equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to a press release from the European Union European Council.

“The next few weeks will be decisive. As Russia prepares for an offensive on eastern Ukraine, it is crucial that we continue and strengthen our military support to Ukraine to defend its territory and people and prevent further suffering,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs. Business and security policy.


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