Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised his country’s bravery late Thursday and said Ukraine should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack when the Russians “gave us a maximum of five.”
In a video address, Zelenskyy called it “an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of everyone who on Feb. 24 made the most important decision of their life – to fight.” He added: “But they didn’t know us either. And they did not know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom. Our opportunity to live the way we want.”
Meanwhile, the storied Russian warship Moskva, whose proud history goes back to days of the Cold War, sank into the Black Sea on Thursday in the latest blow to Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine.
Losing the vessel, built in Ukraine during the Soviet era and named after the Russian capital, represents a military setback and symbolic defeat for Russia as its troops regroup for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine after stumbling in the north.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Moskva — flagship of the country’s Black Sea fleet — was being towed to port when it “lost its stability due to damage to the hull received during the fire from the detonation of ammunition. In the conditions of stormy seas, the ship sank.” But Odesa Gov. Maksym Marchenko said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces struck the guided-missile cruiser with two missiles.
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►IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the consequences of Russia’s invasion were contributing to economic downgrades for 143 countries.
►Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said his nation had “made considerable efforts to de-escalate the situation, defuse the crisis and rebuild peace.” China has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by strategic partner Russia, or even refer to the conflict as a war.
The entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO would force Russia to strengthen its northwestern borders and place nuclear weapons in the region, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday. Medvedev noted on his Telegram channel that the length of Russia’s land border with the NATO alliance would more than double. One of Russia’s explanations for its invasion of Ukraine was concern over possible NATO expansion there.
“Naturally, these borders will have to be strengthened. The grouping of ground forces and air defense will be seriously strengthened, and significant naval forces will be deployed in the waters of the Gulf of Finland,” Medvedev wrote, adding that keeping the region’s non-nuclear status is “out of the question.”
Contributing: The Associated Press