Russia’s Moskva sinks while being towed
The Russian missile cruiser Moskva, in flames since Wednesday and which Kyiv had claimed to have struck, “lost stability and sank while being towed during a storm”, the Russian Defence Ministry has announced. The propaganda war between Russia and Ukraine continued throughout yesterday over the fate of the ship, which had been operating in the Black Sea for weeks and from which numerous missile attacks had started. According to the Russian Defence Department, she had been evacuated due to a fire on board. But Kyiv had earlier said its missile had hit and sunk the cruiser. The Russians said the ship sank “in the rough seas due to damage to the hull, which occurred during the fire following the explosion of the ammunition it was carrying. The the crew was evacuated. The Pentagon said she was being directed to the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, for repairs. Moskva was the ship that was sent “to the devil” by the Ukrainian soldiers of Snake Island.
Putin tells Europe: You cannot ditch Russian gas
President Putin has said Moscow would work to re-direct its energy eastward as European countries try to reduce reliance on Russian exports, adding that Europe would not be able to completely shun Russian gas immediately. Western sanctions over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine have hit Russian energy exports by complicating financing of the deals and logistics. Reuters quotes Putin telling a televised government meeting, “unfriendly countries won’t be able to make do without Russian energy resources, including without natural gas. There is no rational replacement (for gas) in Europe now.” He also said that Europe, by talking about cutting off energy supplies from Russia, was driving up prices and destabilising the market.
‘Blood money being paid for Russian oil’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused European countries that continue to buy Russian oil of “earning their money in other people’s blood”. In an interview with the BBC, he singled out Germany and Hungary, accusing them of blocking efforts to embargo energy sales, from which Russia stands to make up to £250bn (€302bn) this year. There has been a growing frustration among Ukraine’s leadership with Berlin, which has backed some sanctions against Russia but so far resisted calls to back tougher action on oil sales. “It is no longer an issue of business and money,” Zelensky told the BBC from his situation room in Kyiv on Thursday, “it is an issue of survival.” The president also reiterated calls for more weapons to be supplied to Ukraine, saying they were not getting supplies fast enough to fend off Russia’s assault. “The United States, the United Kingdom, some European countries – they are trying to help and are helping,” he said. “But still we need it sooner, sooner and faster. The key word is now.”
IMF to lower global growth forecasts
International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that the global inflationary shock caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the ongoing Covid pandemic would lead to lower economic growth this year and next. She said the fund would downgrade its global growth forecasts for 2022 and 2023 as a result of Russia’s invasion – pushing up the price of food, energy and other commodities around the world this year. “We are facing a crisis on top of a crisis,” she said in a speech before the IMF’s spring meeting next week. Saying that the world faced a “clear and present danger” from high inflation for the first time in many years, she added: “We will be projecting a further downgrade in global growth for both 2022 and 2023.”
Bombs and missile attacks continue
On the fiftieth day of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the tension on the battlefield is still very high: fierce fighting continues in Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Izyum. The situation of the besieged city of Mariupol remains uncertain: “48 the new military targets hit”, said the spokesman of the Russian defence ministry, who denounced the bombing of residential buildings by Ukrainian forces on the Russian town of Klimovo, not far from the Northern border of Ukraine – a version denied by Kiev. The Russian Investigative Committee, in a note quoted by Tass, had stated that the Ukrainians had carried out at least six airstrikes in the area with combat helicopters equipped with heavy weapons.
Johnson deploys Royal Navy in the English Channel
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has formalised the decision to entrust the Navy with the patrol of the English Channel to curb the surge in landings of illegal immigrants. The announcement was made during a speech in Kent in which he illustrated the previously-announced plan that provides, among other things, the relocation of some asylum seekers in Rwanda, pending verification of the process on their possible admission to the United Kingdom.
Macron 10 points over Le Pen
Emmanuel Macron returns 10 points ahead of Marine Le Pen in the polls for the presidential ballot, according to the Ipsos Institute for France Info and Le Parisien. The margin of error remains fixed at 3.2 points. The outgoing president ends up 33% of the votes of the radical left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who finished third in the first round. 18% of the votes for Mélenchon will go to Le Pen, while 49% will not vote. Macron also received 9% of the votes of Eric Zemmour (far right) voters, 78% of which ended up in Le Pen.
Biden finds only 33% approve him
US President Joe Biden increasingly continues to struggle in the polls. According to the latest Quinnipiac survey, only 33% of Americans approve him, compared with 54% who reject him on how he is doing his job. Biden does a little better on the Ukraine front, where he collects 39% of the votes for his action.
Harry and Meghan visit Queen
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have finally visited Queen Elizabeth together for the first time in more than two years. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reunited with the monarch just days before her 96th birthday. They made a pit stop in the UK while on their way over to the Hague for the Invictus Games, their spokesperson confirmed. The 95-year-old monarch met with them at her home at Windsor Castle, alongside Harry’s father, Prince Charles. The couple flew to London’s Heathrow Airport from their home in California. They left their two young children, Archie, two, and 10-month-old Lilibet – whom the queen has still never met in person – at home.
20 Palestinians injured in clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque
Clashes broke out early Friday between Israeli police and Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a major holy site in Jerusalem, and medics said at least 20 Palestinians were wounded. It was not immediately clear what sparked the violence. The Islamic endowment that administers the site said Israeli police entered in force shortly after early morning prayers, when thousands of worshippers were at the mosque. Videos circulating online showed Palestinians hurling rocks and police firing tear gas and stun grenades. Tensions have soared in recent weeks following a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians that killed 14 people inside Israel. Israel has carried out a wave of arrests and military operations in the occupied West Bank, setting off clashes in which several Palestinians have been killed.
12-year-old scores winner for Shakhtar
A 12-year-old boy scored a game-winning goal for Shakhtar Donetsk in a heartwarming moment to close a charity friendly on Thursday. Dmytro Keda, a youngster from Mariupol, came on in the final moments to score the game-winning goal in the Ukrainian side’s 3-2 win over Lechia. The match was part of the Shakhtar Global Tour for Peace, which features matches against Olympiakos, Lechia, Fenerbahce and Hajduk Split as the club looks to raise money for the people of Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion.