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Kiev Bombed after Russia’s Black Sea Warship Sinks
By Staff, Agencies
Powerful explosions and air raid sirens were heard in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, early on Friday after Russia's lead warship sank following a fire in the Black Sea.
The blasts appeared to be among the most significant in the country’s capital since Russian troops pulled back from the area earlier this month in preparation for battles in the south and east of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, reports said there were electricity outages in parts of Kiev.
It came after Moscow's Black Sea warship, Moskva, sank after being seriously damaged in an explosion and fire. Ukraine claimed responsibility for what it termed a “successful missile strike”, using a locally-made Neptune anti-ship missile.
Russia's defense ministry said the Soviet-era vessel sank late on Thursday as it was being towed to port.
The ship reportedly could carry 16 long-range cruise missiles, and its loss would greatly reduce Russia's firepower in the Black Sea.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to it in an early morning video address in which he warned of Russian intentions to target the eastern Donbas region, including Mariupol.
Zelensky paid homage to all "those who halted the progress of the endless convoys of Russian military equipment” and “those who showed that Russian ships can go down to the bottom."
Ukraine has received military support from many Western powers, including the United States.
On Wednesday, Joe Biden administration announced that it will send an additional $800 million worth of military and other security aid to Ukraine and step up intelligence sharing.
Meanwhile, one of Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the US-led NATO military alliance, Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in an exclave in the heart of Europe.
Finland and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said if Sweden and Finland join NATO, then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval, and air forces in the Baltic Sea.
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” said Medvedev, who served as Russian president from 2008 to 2012.
Russia possesses the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear warheads and, along with China and the United States, is one of the global leaders in hypersonic missile technology.
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