Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 51 of the invasion | Ukraine

  • The Russian flagship Moscow has sunk in the Black Sea off southern Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. It is still unclear whether the ship was hit by Ukrainian weapons. Ukraine claims it was, but Russia maintains that a fire on board and then “stormy sea conditions” while being towed to port was to blame. Russia has only three of this flagship class of warships, which have crews of nearly 500 sailors, and the loss of Moscow is a major blow. Former CIA Director David Petraeus described Russia’s admission as a “rare moment of truth … I’m surprised they admitted it,” he told the BBC.

  • Vladimir Putin may resort to using a tactical or low-performing nuclear weapon in the face of military setbacks in the invasion of Ukraine, CIA Director William Burns has said. Speaking in Atlanta, Burns said: “Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership … none of us can take lightly the threat from a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-performing nuclear weapons.” The Kremlin put Russian nuclear forces on high alert shortly after the attack began on February 24.

  • Russia has asked Brazil for support from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the G20 group of top economies to help the country face crippling sanctions, according to a letter seen by Reuters. On March 30, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov wrote asking for Brazil’s “support to prevent political accusations and attempts at discrimination in international financial institutions and multilateral fora”. A spokesman for the Brazilian economy minister indicated that Brazil would like Russia to remain part of the discussions in multilateral organizations.

  • The lives of about 2.7 million people with disabilities are in danger in Ukraine, a UN committee has warned, citing reports that many are trapped or abandoned in their homes, care centers and orphanages without basic supplies or medicine. The committee said it was “deeply concerned” that the fate of people with disabilities in Ukraine is “largely unknown”.

  • At least 503 civilians, including 24 children, have been killed in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, the region’s local governor has said. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city with a pre-war population of about 1.5 million, is 40 km (25 miles) from the Russian border.

  • Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow would take “security and defense measures that we will find necessary” if Sweden and Finland join NATO. In an interview with the Russian state-owned news agency Tass, the minister said that membership of the military alliance would “seriously aggravate the military situation” and lead to “the most undesirable consequences”. Finland and Sweden had previously taken a major step towards joining NATO.

  • Russia’s investigative committee said Ukrainian forces carried out at least six helicopter airstrikes on the village of Klimovo in the Russian region of Bryansk, injuring seven people. The governor of the Bryansk region said earlier that two residential buildings in the village had been hit by shelling. The area is located north of the Ukrainian region of Chernihiv. A village in Russia’s Belgorod region had also come under fire from Ukraine, the region’s governor said.

  • Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has appealed to the UN to facilitate the return of Ukrainian children who have been “illegally deported” to Russia. In a statement, the ministry said Russia had “engaged in state-organized kidnapping of children and destruction of the future of the Ukrainian nation”.

  • France plans to return its embassy to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. It had moved to the western city of Lviv in March when Russia invaded. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on Allies to resume their normal diplomatic presence in Ukraine.

  • Turkey is still working on organizing a meeting between Putin and Zelenskiy, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the condition of a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents is a document that the two leaders can sign.

  • The British government has imposed sanctions on Chelsea football club director Eugene Tenenbaum in an attempt to freeze up to £ 10 billion in assets linked to the club’s Russian oligarch owner, Roman Abramovich. The United Kingdom said it was extending sanctions to Tenenbaum and David Davidovich, another close associate of Abramovich, because the oligarch had transferred billions of pounds of assets to the couple when Russia invaded Ukraine.

  • Zelenskiy has released a video prepared by his government further urging European countries to abandon Russian oil giving “blood” money to Moscow and appealing for more weapons to help Ukraine repel Russia’s invasion.

  • Total 2,557 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Thursday, said Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, with 289 of them from Mariupol. The head of the UN World Food Program, meanwhile, said people were “starving to death” in the besieged city.

  • Moody’s Investors Service has said Russia “could be considered defaulting” if it fails to pay US dollar bonds by May 4. Russia paid two bonds in rubles this month after sanctions cut the country off from global financial systems, and the United States banned Moscow from making debt payments using dollars in U.S. banks. The payments in rubles “represent a change in payment terms” and can, according to Moody’s, be considered a default. S&P Global Ratings has also declared Russia in default.

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