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Moscow vows renewed attacks on Kyiv after warship sinks


Russia blocks The Moscow Times’ Russian language website

Russia’s communications watchdog has blocked access to the Russian language website of The Moscow Times, a newspaper that has covered Russia for three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Moscow Times said Russian internet providers had already started to block its Russian-language site. It published a notice from Russia’s communications watchdog which said its site was now blocked.

Russia’s communications watchdog did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Moscow Times editor Samantha Berkhead confirmed the block.

Finland ‘highly likely’ to join NATO, minister says

Finland’s minister for Europe has said it is now “highly likely” the country, which shares a border with Russia, will join NATO.

“The people of Finland seem to have already made up their minds,” Tytti Tuppurainen said on U.K. broadcaster Sky News on Friday, though she cautioned that the issue still needed to be discussed in the country’s parliament.

Russia’s actions and its “brutal” war in Ukraine had been “a wake-up call to us all,” she said.

Moscow warned on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland join the transatlantic military alliance, Russia would deploy nuclear weapons to a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea, in the heart of Europe.

Russia vows increased strikes on Kyiv

Russia’s defense ministry has said it will increase the “number and scale of missile strikes” on targets in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

The ministry said in a statement posted to its website on Friday that the intensifying attacks would be in retaliation for “terrorist attacks or sabotage on Russian territory.” NBC News has not verified Moscow’s claims of any such attack.

Russia said that it had already carried out missile strikes on a military factory outside Kyiv. Loud explosions were heard from the city overnight.

The promise of further attacks around the capital comes weeks after Russian forces retreated from the area and said they were shifting their focus to an impending offensive in Ukraine’s east.

9 humanitarian corridors to open Friday

Nine humanitarian corridors are set to open in Ukraine on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

Vereshchuk said in a Telegram post that residents of the besieged city of Mariupol would be able to evacuate to Zaporizhzhia via their own transportation.

The announcement comes after no corridors were opened Wednesday. Vereshchuk said Russian forces had violated a cease-fire in Luhansk and blocked evacuation buses in Zaporizhzhia. 

Routes to Zaporizhzhia were also expected to be open from Berdyansk, Tokmak and Enerhodar for those who have their own transportation.

Evacuation routes are also expected to be opened to Bakhmut, including from Sieverodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Rubizhne and the village of Hirske.

Vereshchuk said humanitarian corridors in the Luhansk region would “work under the condition of cessation of shelling by the occupying forces.”

Russia likely to review Black Sea posture after sinking of Moskva, U.K. says

Russia is likely to “review its maritime posture in the Black Sea” after the flagship of its fleet there sank following an explosion, the British defense ministry said Friday.

Russia’s defense ministry said the Moskva sank as it was being towed following a fire caused by the detonation of ammunition, according to Russian state-owned media. Ukrainian defense officials said their forces struck it with two missiles. The crew had been evacuated, the Russian ministry said.

The U.K. defense ministry said in a daily update Friday that “the Moskva served a key role” as both a command vessel and an air defense node. It was commissioned in 1979 and had been refitted and returned to service last year, it said.

“This incident means Russia has now suffered damage to two key naval assets since invading Ukraine, the first being Russia’s Alligator-class landing ship Saratov on 24 March. Both events will likely lead Russia to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea,” the U.K. ministry said.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Thursday that the U.S. can’t confirm Ukrainian reports of a missile strike, but couldn’t refute it either, and was unable to confirm what caused the explosion.

“We just don’t have perfect visibility on exactly what happened. We do believe that there was a significant explosion on this cruiser,” which caused a fire, he said.



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