Ukraine war: Russian warship 'seriously damaged' in explosion — live updates

Thursday, 14 April 2022 (14:33 IST)
A vessel at the helm of Russia's Black Sea fleet has been badly damaged. Russia says it is investigating the cause

Mariupol's mayor says city remains Ukrainian

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko has rejected Russian claims of the capture of the port in the southeastern Ukrainian city. "I consider it a false report," Boychenko told German broadcaster ARD by videolink.

"My stance is, of course, skeptical; Russian lies we hear at every turn, which is why I recommend using only verified information."

"We are firmly convinced: Mariupol was, is and will remain a Ukrainian city."

"Our defenders have been defending the city for over 50 days, and Mariupol has grown close to the hearts of Ukrainians. That's how it is and that's how it will stay."

Mariupol has been under siege since the first days after the Russian invasion on February 24. Meanwhile, the city, once home to more than 400,000 people, has been largely destroyed.

Boychenko has said the siege has killed more than 10,000 civilians with the death toll possibly standing at 20,000. He claims that Russian forces have brought mobile cremation equipment to dispose of evidence of war crimes.

Ukraine hopes humanitarian corridors can open

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says nine humanitarian corridors have been agreed for Thursday to evacuate civilians.

They include a route for people to leave the besieged city of Mariupol by private car.

Other corridors from Berdiansk, Tokmak and Enerhodar, and in the eastern Luhansk region are to operate if occupying Russian forces stop their shelling, Vereshchuk added.

Ukrainian authorities are urging people in Ukraine's southeastern Donbas area to move west quickly ahead of a feared, large-scale Russian offensive to capture the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russian warship in Black Sea damaged in blaze

A Russian warship in the Black Sea was "seriously damaged" as a result of a fire that detonated stored ammunition, Russia's defense ministry said.

The ministry said the cause of the fire was being determined and that the crew had been evacuated. 

The missile cruiser is the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet. It was the vessel that became known earlier in the war when it called on Ukrainian soldiers defending the strategic Snake Island to surrender.

Earlier, the governor of the Odesa region said that Ukrainian forces had hit the Moskva with missile strikes.

"Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship. Glory to Ukraine!" Odesa regional governor Maksym Marchenko said.

However, the Ukraine presidency says it is unclear what happened.

The Moskva was originally built in the Soviet era and was previously deployed in the Syria conflict where it served as naval protection for the Russian forces' Hmeimim airbase.

Russian superyacht seized by Fiji police

Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov's superyacht has been seized by police in the Pacific country of Fiji.

The 106-meter yacht, which is worth about $325 million (€298 million), docked in Fiji on Tuesday. Reuters reported that the captain of the vessel was being questioned on how it came to Fiji without customs clearance.

Kerimov has been sanctioned by the United States and the European Union.

"The United States is committed to finding and seizing the assets of the oligarchs who have supported the Russian Federation's brutal, unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine," the US embassy in Fiji said.

Australia imposes sanctions on Russian enterprises

Australia imposed sanctions on 14 Russian state-owned enterprises on Thursday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.

Sanctioned firms include truckmaker Kamaz, the shipping companies SEVMASH and United shipbuilding Corp, and Russian Railways.

Sanctions will also be applied to electronic company Ruselectronics, which is responsible for around 80% of all of Russia's electronics components.

US State Department defends Biden's use of term 'genocide'

US State Department official Victoria Nuland defended President Joe Biden's labeling of alleged atrocities committed in Ukraine as "genocide."

"I am going to predict that what President Biden called it is what we will ultimately likely find when we are able to gather all of this evidence," she said in an interview with CNN.

"What is happening on the ground is not an accident," Nuland said. "It is an intentional decision by Russia, by its forces to destroy Ukraine and its civilian population."

Biden said that it will be up to international lawyers to determine whether the acts of Russian forces fit the definition of "genocide."

Ukraine's Zelenskyy says Germany did not inquire about Steinmeier visit

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Berlin never asked about a potential visit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Kyiv.

Zelenskyy's remarks come after Steinmeier claimed that Ukraine did not want him to visit the country. Steinmeier said that Polish President Andrzej Duda had requested he join a joint trip with the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

"I as president and our office have not received any official inquiries from the Federal President and the Office of the Federal President regarding a visit to Ukraine," Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported Zelenskyy as saying.

However, multiple German news agencies cited officials at the embassy in Kyiv as saying that they had received written notice on Tuesday that Steinmeier's visit was not desired, with the same message also communicated via other back channels.

Steinmeier snub shows Ukraine's 'frustration' with Germany

Kyiv has said it would welcome a visit from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after apparently snubbing President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who holds a largely ceremonial role.

Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin suggested Steinmeier's offer to visit Kyiv might have been rejected because of overall "disappointment" and "frustration" about Berlin's role in the crisis.

"It's about sanctions, it's about German stubbornness," Klimkin told DW, adding that Russian oil and gas were big issues. "And of course, it's about military assistance."

When asked about how Kyiv could get Germany to impose an embargo on Russian oil and gas in accordance with its demands, Klimkin said that it should bring "German politicians to places where the Russians committed acts of genocide, like Bucha."

"It's not about politics, it's about moral reality," Klimkin said, claiming that Russia wants to see the "extinction of Ukraine and [its] statehood." He went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin had deemed Ukraine the "anti-Russia."

Klimkin said that there was a perception in Ukraine that Germany was complicit in enabling Moscow to build up its war machine by buying Russian oil and gas and accused Berlin of doing "nothing" over many years to counter the Kremlin.

"I personally warned the German government hundreds of times," Klimkin stressed. "But nothing has been done."

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Wednesday

Dmytro Shyvytskyy, the governor of the north-eastern Ukrainian region of Sumy, said more than 100 bodies had been found after the withdrawal of Russian forces.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was "right" to describe Russia's aggression in Ukraine as "genocide" after US President Joe Biden used the term. French President Emmanuel Macron refused to apply the label to the actions of Russian forces, saying it wouldn't help de-escalate the situation.

Russia's Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against hundreds of lawmakers in the United States and Canada.

US President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million (€735 million) in military assistance to Ukraine.

Russia's Defense Ministry said if attacks on Russian territories continue, its forces will strike Ukraine's command "centers."

The presidents of three Baltic states and Poland met with their Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the capital Kyiv. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was not among the European presidents to visit the Ukrainian capital, despite being in Poland on Tuesday.

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