Kyiv: A day after Moscow suffered a sharply symbolic defeat with the loss of the flagship of its Black Sea Fleet, Russia’s defense ministry on Friday called off missile attacks on the Ukrainian capital in response to Ukraine’s alleged military “turn on Russian territory”. promised to accelerate. The threat of intense attacks on Kyiv came after Russian officials accused Ukraine of launching airstrikes on residential buildings in Bryansk, bordering Ukraine, and wounding seven people. Officials in another Russian border area also reported on Thursday of Ukrainian shelling.

Life in Kyiv is slowly returning to normalcy after Russia failed to capture the capital and withdrew its troops in northern Ukraine to focus a concentrated attack in the country’s east. A renewed bombardment could bring city residents back to sheltering subway stations and the steady moan of air raid sirens. Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the target of the attack in Russia, and Russian officials’ reports could not be independently verified. However, Ukrainian officials claimed that their forces attacked a major Russian warship with missiles on Thursday. If true, the claim would represent a significant victory.

The guided missile cruiser Moskva, designated for the Russian capital, sank while on port after suffering heavy damage in disputed conditions. Moscow admitted that there was a fire on board but no attack. US and other Western officials could not confirm what caused the fire. Moskva had the capacity to carry 16 long-range cruise missiles, and its removal reduces Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea. The loss of the battleship in the invasion, already widely seen as a historical blunder, was also a symbolic defeat for Moscow as its troops retreated from much of the north for an offensive in eastern Ukraine. Organized.

During the first days of the war, Moskva’s crew reportedly called on Ukrainian troops stationed on Snake Island in the Black Sea to surrender in a standoff. A widely circulated recording shows a Ukrainian soldier saying in response: “Russian battleship, go (to yourself).” The media could not independently confirm the Snake Island incident, but Ukraine and its supporters consider it an iconic moment of defiance. The country recently unveiled a postage stamp in its memory. If Ukraine did hit Moscow with missiles, the cruiser probably represents the largest battleship sunk in the war since the Falklands War of 1982, which saw a similar-sized cruiser being torpedoed by a British submarine called the ARA General Belgrano. in which more than 300 sailors were killed. ,

In his nightly address on Thursday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainians they should be proud to have survived 50 days under Russian attack when the invaders “gave us a maximum of five.” Listing the ways Ukraine defends against attack, Zelensky referred to “those who showed that Russian warships can go away, even if it is under sea”. This was his only reference to Moscow. News about the flagship overshadowed Russian claims of advances in the southern port city of Mariupol, where Moscow’s forces have been battling Ukrainians since the early days of the invasion in some of the heaviest fighting of the war – at a dire cost for civilians. A dwindling number of Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol are against a siege that has trapped well over 100,000 civilians in dire need of food, water and heating. David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, told the AP in an interview on Thursday that people were being “starved to death” in the besieged city.

Mariupol’s mayor said this week that more than 10,000 civilians had been killed and the death toll could surpass 20,000. The capture of Mariupol is important to Russia as it will allow its forces in the south to fully link up with troops in the Donbass region, which is Ukraine’s eastern industrial stronghold and the target of an impending invasion. According to a senior US defense official, the Russian military continues to move helicopters and other equipment to such an effort, and more ground combat units are likely to be added soon. But it is still unclear when Russia can launch a full-scale campaign in the Donbass. Moscow-backed separatists have been battling Ukraine in the region since 2014, the same year Russia annexed Crimea.

Odessa region governor Maksim Marchenko said Ukrainian forces hit Moscow with two Neptune missiles and caused “serious damage”. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the fire caused the ammunition on board to explode, without explaining what caused the fire. It said the “main missile armament” was not damaged and the crew, usually numbering around 500, abandoned the ship. It was not clear whether there were any casualties. In addition to cruise missiles, the battleship also carried air defense missiles and other guns. The Neptune is an anti-ship missile recently developed by Ukraine based on an earlier Soviet design. The launchers are mounted on trucks located near the coast, and can hit targets up to 280 kilometers (175 mi) away, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Depending on where the ship was at the time of the fire, Moscow would have been kept within range.

Launched in 1979 as the Slav, the cruiser saw service in the Cold War and during conflicts in Georgia and Syria, and helped conduct peacetime scientific research with the United States. During the Cold War, it carried nuclear weapons. British defense officials said Moscow’s defeat could force Moscow to change the way its naval forces operate in the Black Sea. In a social media post on Friday, the UK’s Ministry of Defense said the ship, which returned to operational service last year after a major overhaul, “played an important role as both a command vessel and an air defense node.” The sinking means Russia has now suffered damage to two major naval assets since invading Ukraine, the first being Russia’s Alligator-class landing ship Saratov on March 24.

On Thursday, other Russian ships in the northern Black Sea headed south after the Moscow incident, said a senior US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal military assessments. While the US was not able to confirm Ukraine’s claims of an attack on the warship, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called it “a major blow to Russia”. “They had to choose between two stories: one story is that it was just incompetence, and the other was that they came under attack, and neither is a particularly good outcome for them,” Sullivan told the Economic Club of Washington. told .

Russia invaded on 24 February and potentially lost thousands of fighters. The conflict has killed countless Ukrainian civilians and forced millions to flee. This has further pushed up prices at grocery stores and gasoline pumps, dragging down the global economy. The head of the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that the war had helped the organization downgrade economic forecasts for 143 countries.