Moskva: Ukraine claims to have caused ‘serious damage’ after striking 'Snake Island' Russian flagship

Ukrainian officials say they have caused “serious damage” to the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

The Odesa region’s governor Maksym Marchenko said forces struck the Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva with two missiles and caused “serious damage”.

The Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the ship was damaged, but not that it was hit by Ukraine.

The ministry said ammunition on board detonated as a result of a fire whose causes “were being established”, adding that the Moskva’s entire crew was evacuated with the cruiser typically having about 500 on board.

Ukrainian officials say they have caused “serious damage” to the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet

The Mosvka gained notoriety early in Moscow's war when Ukrainian border troops defending the strategic 'Snake Island' were heard in a viral audio recording telling crew on the very same warship to 'go f**k yourself'

Last month Ukraine said it had destroyed a large Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, n an attack in Berdyansk in the Sea of Azov.

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Ukraine conflict: Large Russian ship, the Orsk, destroyed by Ukrainian military ...

In the southern port city of Mariupol, Russian defence ministry spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov said 1,026 troops from the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade surrendered at a metals factory.

But Vadym Denysenko, adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, told Current Time TV that “the battle over the seaport is still ongoing today”.

Russian troops are gearing up for a major offensive in the eastern Donbas region, where Moscow-allied separatists and Ukrainian forces have been fighting since 2014.

Mariupol is a key piece in the Russian campaign and lies in the Donbas, which the Russians have pummelled for weeks.

It was unclear when a surrender may have occurred or how many forces were still defending Mariupol.

In his nightly address, Mr Zelensky said that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court visited the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, which was controlled by Russian forces until recently and where evidence of mass killings and more than 400 bodies were found.

“It is inevitable that the Russian troops will be held responsible. We will drag everyone to a tribunal, and not only for what was done in Bucha

Earlier, President Joe Biden approved 800 million dollars (£610m) in military assistance for Ukraine, including artillery and helicopters, to bolster its defences against a Russian offensive in the country’s east.

Mr Biden announced the aid after a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to coordinate the delivery of the assistance, which he said included artillery systems, artillery rounds and armoured personnel carriers, as well as helicopters.

“This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden is under pressure from members of both parties in Congress to expand and accelerate US aid.

German authorities say they have seized a massive superyacht in Hamburg after determining that it belongs to the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

The Federal Criminal Police Office said Wednesday that, after “extensive investigations” and despite “offshore concealment”, it had been able to determine that the owner is Gulbakhor Ismailova, Usmanov’s sister.

The Dilbar is flagged in the Cayman Islands and registered to a holding company in Malta, two banking havens where the global ultra-rich often park their wealth. It was launched in 2016 at a reported cost of more than £493 million.