Medvedev warns that Russia will strengthen its military over potential Swedish and Finnish NATO memberships

The Russian naval cruiser Moscow, bottom, is seen in port in Sevastopol, Crimea, on April 7. (Satellite image © 2022MaxarTechnologies)

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

The United States and the European Union have pledged $ 1.3 billion more in military aid to Ukraine as Russia prepares to launch an Eastern offensive.

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

Here are the latest developments:

War damage: April 12 was the number of civilian deaths in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24, at 1,932, the United Nations Office on Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Thursday. It warned that “the actual numbers are significantly higher.”

Global effect: UN Secretary-General has warned that the world is on the brink 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” of food, energy and finances – areas that have already been hit hard by Covid-19 and climate change. “We are now facing a perfect storm that threatens to destroy the economies of developing countries,” said Secretary-General António Guterres. secondary damage in yet another disaster for which they have no responsibility, “he said.

Important Russian warship damaged: One of the Russian navy’s most important warships has been badly damaged in the Black Sea, a massive blow to a military man who was fighting Ukrainian resistance 50 days after Russia’s invasion of its neighbor. Russian sailors evacuated the guided missile cruiser Moscow, the flagship of its Black Sea Fleet, after a fire detonated ammunition on board, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. Ukraine’s Operational Command South claimed on Thursday that Moscow had begun to sink after being hit by Ukrainian Neptune anti – ship missiles. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday that Moscow “remains afloat” and that measures 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 Moscow, but said the United States at this time could not say whether the ship was hit by a missile. Whatever the cause of the fire, analysts say it hits hard in the heart of the Russian Navy as well as national pride, comparable to the U.S. Navy losing a battleship during World War II or an aircraft carrier today.

Ukrainian National Security Adviser Oleksiy Danilov told CNN on Thursday that the alleged attack on the cruiser was a very important mission for his country’s military and promised that there would be more such dramatic acts. “It is a very important mission for us. Moscow was there near Snake Island and was hit yesterday by two powerful Ukrainian-made missiles, “Danilov told CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen in an interview. “[Putin] came to kill our children, our women, our civilians. It’s our gift to him. And this is only the beginning. There will be more than one Moscow. “The Ukrainian national security adviser continued to praise the Ukrainian military for the way they defended 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 first and foremost 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 the Turkish news channel NTV on Thursday. “We know that critical issues will be decided at the leadership level, so we will try to bring leaders together,” he said. Cavusoglu said Turkey continues to approach the negotiations with “cautious optimism”, especially after recent events with alleged war crimes in Bucha and Irpin, which “negatively affected the process.”

The condition for a possible meeting between Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky is a memorandum of understanding ready for the two leaders to sign, the Kremlin said on Thursday. Since the start of Russia’s invasion, Zelensky has repeatedly called for talks with the Russian president, but so far there have been no talks at the highest level.

Russian opposition figure urges the West to lead a social media against Putin’s regime: Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has issued a series of tweets calling for a new front with “truth and free information” against Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he calls “the war criminal from the Kremlin”.

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 spears,” the US armored weapons. being used by Ukrainian forces against Russian armor.

Increased international defense assistance to Ukraine: The Pentagon is working to move $ 800 million worth of weapons, ammunition and other security assistance to Ukraine announced by US President Joe Biden yesterday into Ukraine as soon as possible, a senior defense official said Thursday. “We are not under any illusion about the size and scope of this thing. But we are also aware of the clock. We know that time is not our friend. And we will do the best we can to move this, to move these shipments as fast as we can, ”the official told reporters during a briefing outside the camera.

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

“The next few weeks will be crucial. As Russia prepares for an offensive against eastern Ukraine, it is vital that we continue and step up our military support for Ukraine in order to defend its territory and population and prevent further suffering, “said Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs. and security policy.

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