Russia bombed a factory in kyiv overnight which it says made the missiles that sank the Moskva, as the Kremlin pledged to step up attacks on the Ukrainian capital.

Heavy explosions were seen overnight in kyiv before the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday morning that it had destroyed the “Vizar” factory which manufactures anti-ship missiles and other Ukrainian rockets.

The attack came just a day after the Moskva – the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – was sunk after a fire and explosion on board which Ukraine says was caused by two missiles from cruise. Moscow says only that the cause is being “investigated”.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky, speaking Thursday evening in an address to the nation, hailed the heroism of Ukrainians who resisted the Russian invasion for 50 days – despite warnings they would only last five days.

Russia says it blew up a Ukrainian munitions factory near kyiv overnight using cruise missiles fired from ships in the Black Sea (pictured being launched)

Moscow says the plant was used to make the same types of missiles used to sink the Moskva, its Black Sea flagship, on Thursday

Moscow says the plant was used to make the same types of missiles used to sink the Moskva, its Black Sea flagship, on Thursday

President Zelensky addressed Ukrainians overnight, praising their heroism in standing up to Russia for 50 days when the world expected them to last just five

President Zelensky addressed Ukrainians overnight, praising their heroism in standing up to Russia for 50 days when the world expected them to last just five

Russia warns US to stop arming Ukraine

Russia has told the United States to stop sending arms to Ukraine, warning of “unforeseeable consequences” if it continues to do so.

The warning was issued in the form of an official diplomatic note, which was seen by The Washington Post.

He said US and NATO shipments of the “most sensitive” weapons were “fuelling” the conflict, which is now approaching its second month.

The two-page memo was handed over after Biden accepted a further delivery of $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, including heavy artillery and shells, helicopters and armored personnel carriers. troops.

“What the Russians are telling us privately is precisely what we have been telling the world publicly – that the massive aid we have provided to our Ukrainian partners is proving extraordinarily effective,” a senior US official said of the note.

Zelensky said he remembers the first day of the invasion when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.

He added: “But they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the ability to live as we want.”

Zelensky told Ukrainians on Thursday they should be proud to have survived 50 days under the Russian attack when the Russians “gave us a maximum of five”.

He called it “the achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of all those who on February 24 made the most important decision of their lives – to fight.”

The Russian Defense Ministry warned on Friday morning that it would step up attacks on kyiv in the coming days, in response to Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory.

A village in Russia’s border region with Belarus, home to a military base, was hit on Thursday – following explosions at an ammunition depot and oil facility in Belgorod, along a train line near.

Images from Belgorod in the early hours of Friday showed anti-aircraft missiles in the sky, suggesting further strikes were underway.

Meanwhile, the military claimed to have shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter involved in the attack on the Bryansk region near Chernihiv.

Ukraine did not acknowledge carrying out such strikes, but neither did it deny being behind them.

“The number and scale of missile strikes on targets in Kyiv will increase in response to any terrorist attacks or acts of sabotage on Russian territory by the nationalist regime in Kyiv,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. communicated.

The blasts came hours after the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, sank while being towed after being badly damaged – leaving Putin “livid “.

Amid a ream of bad news for the Russian despot’s war, his forces appeared on Friday poised to capture Mariupol – a southern port city that has now been under siege for nearly two months.

Loud explosions were reported south of kyiv overnight after Russia bombed what it claimed was a missile factory

Loud explosions were reported south of kyiv overnight after Russia bombed what it claimed was a missile factory

The Ministry of Defense claimed that its troops had taken control of the Ilyum Steel Works, a huge industrial complex in the center of Mariupol where marines and troops from the Azov Battalion were fighting their last stand.

If confirmed, it would mean that Mariupol is about to fall into Russian hands. It would be the largest city ever captured by Putin’s men, but at the cost of near total destruction.

While some forces in the region will likely continue to conduct guerrilla operations against Russian forces, defeating the city’s defenses would also free up troops to join a planned assault on eastern Ukraine.

British intelligence services estimated on Thursday that the fight for Mariupol was currently mobilizing “a significant number of Russian troops and equipment”.

Separately, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that its strategic rocket forces “killed up to 30 Polish mercenaries” in a strike on the village of Izyumskoe, not far from the city of Kharkiv, in the northeastern Ukraine.

He said the mercenaries belonged to “a private Polish military company”, but did not say whether Ukrainian soldiers were also killed.

The reported rocket attack was one of the largest against foreign targets in Ukraine since another missile killed what the Russian military said were up to 180 foreign mercenaries in western Ukraine last month.

Russia invaded on February 24 and lost potentially thousands of fighters in the weeks that followed. The conflict has killed countless Ukrainian civilians and forced millions more to flee.

It came as the head of the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said people were ‘starved to death’ in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and he predicted the country’s humanitarian crisis would worsen probably as Russia intensified its assault.

Ukraine continues to attack Russia as its invasion falters - sinking the Moskva, striking Belgorod and fighting in eastern Ukraine.  But Moscow says its troops are close to taking Mariupol, which has now been under siege for nearly two months.

Ukraine continues to attack Russia as its invasion falters – sinking the Moskva, striking Belgorod and fighting in eastern Ukraine. But Moscow says its troops are close to taking Mariupol, which has now been under siege for nearly two months.

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Anti-aircraft missiles are seen in the sky over Belgorod, Russia, on Friday – suggesting the city has again come under attack from Ukraine

WFP Executive Director David Beasley also warned in an interview with The Associated Press in Kyiv on Thursday that Russia’s invasion of grain-exporting Ukraine risks destabilizing countries far from its shores and could trigger waves of migrants seeking a better life elsewhere.

His fears were shared by the US ambassador to the United Nations, who accused Russia of worsening the precarious food situation in Yemen and elsewhere by invading Ukraine, calling it “just another grim example of the effect of training that Russia’s unprovoked, unjust and inadmissible war is having on the world’s most vulnerable”.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a UN Security Council meeting on war-torn Yemen on Thursday that the WFP had identified the Arab world’s poorest nation as one of the worst-hit countries. rising wheat prices and lack of imports from Ukraine.

Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyansky replied: “The main factor of instability and the source of the problem today is not the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, but the sanctions measures imposed on our country seeking to cut off all supplies from Russia and the supply chain”. , apart from the supplies that these Western countries need, that is to say energy.

The exchange came a day after a UN task force warned that war threatened to devastate the economies of many developing countries which now face even higher food and energy costs and increasingly difficult financial conditions.

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