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The Russian Defense Ministry warned on April 15 that it would step up attacks on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, after accusing Ukraine of targeting Russian border towns.

The statement came a day after Russia suffered a symbolic defeat with the loss of its Black Sea Fleet flagship, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed his people for their determination since invading Russia in February and for making “the most important decision of his life – to fight.”

Zelenskiy told Ukrainians late April 14 that they should be proud to have survived 50 days under Russian attack as the invaders “gave us a maximum of five”.

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Zelenskiy noted “those who have shown that Russian warships can navigate, even if it’s on the bottom” of the sea in reference to the Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which sank in the Black Sea after being damaged in disputed circumstances.

“The number and scale of missile attacks against objects in Kyiv will be intensified in response to the nationalist regime in Kyiv committing terrorist attacks or hijackings on Russian territory,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said. , Major General Igor Konashenkov.

kyiv claimed to have hit the Moskva with Neptune anti-ship missiles early on April 14, while Russia said a fire broke out on the ship, causing an explosion.

The US military agreed with the Ukrainian version.

“We estimate they hit it with two Neptunes,” a senior Pentagon official said in a briefing with reporters on April 15, calling it a “crushing blow” for Moscow.

The strikes reportedly caused casualties, but it was difficult to assess the number, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official added that the United States had observed survivors picked up by other Russian ships in the area. Russia said the crew of the Moskva had been evacuated to nearby ships.

Natalia Humenyuk, spokeswoman for the Southern Ukrainian military forces, said the Ukrainian side expects Russia to take revenge.

The strike on the Moskva “not only affected the ship itself, but also the imperial ambitions of the enemy. We are all aware that this will not be forgiven us”, she told a briefing . “We are aware that the attacks against us will intensify and the enemy will take revenge,” she added, citing ongoing strikes on cities in southern Ukraine, Odessa and Mykolaiv.

On April 15, Russian troops fired on almost all settlements in the Luhansk region, killing and wounding civilians, Ukrainian authorities said.

“The occupying Russian troops fired mortars, artillery and rocket launchers 26 times at the cities of Syevyerodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminna, Lysychansk, Popasna, Hirske, Zolote, Orikhove and Novotoshkivka,” Ukrainian National Police said. . mentioned.

Powerful explosions were heard in kyiv on April 15, according to local media, and fighting raged in the east.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian troops struck a “military” factory outside kyiv late on April 14 using Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles.

Ukraine’s presidency said explosions were heard in the Vasylkiv region outside the capital.

The Russian ministry also said its S-400 missile system shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter, which carried out “an attack on civilians in the locality of Klimovo in the Bryansk region on April 14”.

On April 14, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) rejected Russia’s accusations of attacks on Russian cities, calling them “an attempt to trigger anti-Ukrainian hysteria in Russia.”

Explosions were also heard on April 15 in the southern city of Kherson, the eastern city of Kharkiv and the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk, media reported.

Ukrainian authorities continue to expect an imminent and reinforced offensive by Russian forces in the east of the country.

Parts of the east have already felt the brunt of Russian attacks. A Kharkiv region official said at least 503 civilians have been killed since the start of the invasion. Regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said in a Telegram message that the dead included 24 children.

The town near the Russian border has been on the eastern front line since the start of the war and has suffered massive destruction.

Efforts to evacuate people from the southern port city of Mariupol continued on April 15. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iyrna Vereshchuk said 363 people from Mariupol were among 2,864 people evacuated from conflict areas.

According to Ukraine, tens of thousands of people were killed in Mariupol, a strategic city that saw some of the worst fighting of the war.

Seven people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a Russian attack on buses carrying civilians in the village of Borova in Izyum district, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said in a statement on social networks. social.

In Russia, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has asked the government to increase funding for troop funeral services and tombstones.

The FSB has asked for a 17% increase for funeral services, according to documents recently published on a government website.

With reports from AP, Reuters, AFP and dpa

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