A senior US defense official has said the United States believes the Russian guided missile cruiser that sank in the northern Black Sea on Thursday was hit by at least one Ukrainian anti-ship missile, as claimed the Kyiv government.

Pentagon officials previously said they could not confirm the Ukrainian claim, but they did not refute it either. The senior US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an intelligence assessment, said on Friday the Moskva had been hit by at least one, and likely two, Neptune missiles on Wednesday, creating the great fire on board.

The official did not provide any further details other than that the United States believes the Russians suffered a number of casualties aboard the vessel.

Russia announces it will step up attacks on kyiv

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia’s Defense Ministry pledged on Friday to step up missile attacks on Ukraine’s capital in response to Ukraine’s alleged aggression on Russian territory, an ominous warning that followed the scathing symbolic loss of Moscow of his navy flagship in the Black Sea.

The threat of intensified attacks on kyiv came after Russian authorities accused Ukraine of injuring seven people and damaging around 100 residential buildings with airstrikes on Bryansk, a region bordering Ukraine. Authorities in another region bordering Russia also reported Ukrainian shelling on Thursday.

“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. , Igor Konashenkov.

The bodies of 900 civilians found dead in the kyiv region

More than 900 bodies of civilians have been discovered in the kyiv region following the withdrawal of Russian forces, the regional police chief said at a press briefing on Friday.

Andriy Nebytov, chief of Kyiv regional police, said the bodies had been left on the streets or temporarily buried. He cited police data indicating that 95% died from gunshot wounds.

“Therefore, we understand that under the (Russian) occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Nebytov said.

More and more bodies are being found every day, under the rubble and in mass graves, he added.

Pro-Russian politician detained for treason

MOSCOW – The wife of a Ukrainian politician detained by kyiv for treason has accused Ukrainian security services of torturing her husband and fabricating his escape from house arrest during a press conference held in Moscow Friday.

Oksana Marchenko, the wife of Viktor Medvedchuk, the former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party and a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has called her husband a “political prisoner” and said she does not don’t know where he is.

Medvedchuk was arrested on Tuesday as part of a special operation by the Ukrainian State Security Service, or SBU. The 67-year-old oligarch escaped house arrest several days before the outbreak of hostilities on February 24 in Ukraine. He faces between 15 years and a life sentence for treason and complicity with a terrorist organization for having negotiated coal purchases for the separatist republic of Donetsk, supported by Russia, in eastern Ukraine.

Soldiers from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) enter a building during an operation to arrest suspected Russian collaborators in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 14, 2022. (AP/Felipe Dana)

Independent Russian website blocked

Russia’s leading English-language independent media outlet said Russian authorities blocked its Russian-language website over critical coverage of the war in Ukraine.

The Moscow Times said on Friday that its Russian-language website had become unavailable to some users and cited a decision by the attorney general’s office to restrict access.

According to the outlet, authorities separately blocked a website page containing an article about 11 riot police who refused to fight in Ukraine. On Thursday, a journalist who first published the story was jailed for spreading false information about the Russian military.

Russians stop burials in Mariupol: report

KYIV, Ukraine – The Mariupol City Council said on Friday that local residents are reporting that Russian troops are digging up bodies previously buried in residential yards and not allowing new burials “of people killed by them”.

“A caretaker has been assigned to each yard and does not allow residents of Mariupol to rest their deceased relatives or friends. The reason for the exhumation and where the bodies will be taken are unknown,” according to a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.

The claim could not be independently verified.

Earlier this month, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko told the AP that Russian forces had brought mobile cremation equipment into the city to dispose of the corpses of siege victims.

Russians kill seven Ukrainian civilians on buses: report

KYIV, Ukraine – Seven people died and 27 were injured after Russian forces opened fire on buses carrying civilians in the Ukrainian village of Borovaya, near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, A spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office told Ukrainian news site Suspilne on Friday.

Ukrainian law enforcement is working to establish the circumstances of the attack, Dmytro Chubenko said. He added that investigators are also establishing the routes and destination of vehicles transporting civilians through Russian-held territory around Borovaya.

Chubenko said Ukrainian authorities had opened criminal charges for an “alleged violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder”.

The claims could not be independently verified.

A stuffed doll is seen hanging from a barbed wire separating Ukraine and Poland at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)

Canada sends 150 soldiers to Poland to help refugees

OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada is sending troops to Poland to help with the care, coordination and resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in Poland, including some who will come to Canada.

More than 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the first Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24 and more than 2 million others have fled to other surrounding countries.

Defense Minister Anita Anand announced the deployment of up to 150 troops on Thursday, saying the majority of the deployed troops will head to reception centers across Poland to help care for and register Ukrainian refugees. .

Another group is sent to help coordinate international aid efforts.

People are starving in Mariupol, says UN

KYIV, Ukraine – The head of the United Nations World Food Program said people were “starved to death” in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and he predicted the country’s humanitarian crisis was likely to worsen as the Russia would intensify its assault in the coming weeks.

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.

The war that began on February 24 has “devastated the people of Ukraine”, Beasley said, lamenting the lack of access faced by WFP and other aid organizations in trying to reach those in need during the conflict. .