As Russia's invasion of Ukraine entered its eighth week, President Vladimir Putin suffered a fresh setback with the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of his Black Sea fleet.
Russian forces prepare for a major offensive in Ukraine's east, as a result of the symbolic defeat. The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy applauded his country for its resolve during the 50 days of war, but said it had become clear that the Donbas region was now the main target of Russia. The head of the United Nations World Food Program warned that the tens of thousands of people still trapped in the southeastern port city are starving to death because they don't have access to water, food, medicine and other basic supplies, and that it's a fierce battle for Mariupol.
Russia's defense ministry acknowledged that the warship Moskva had sunk Thursday, but said the ship had been damaged by a fire and had eventually gone down while being towed in stormy sea conditions. Ukrainian officials claimed they had hit the ship with a missile attack.
G- 20 host Indonesia said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has confirmed plans to attend the meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors next week.
More than 2 million people in Ukraine and those who have fled the country are helped by the International Red Cross' largest cash assistance program.
On Friday, nine humanitarian corridors are scheduled to open in Ukraine, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. In a Telegram post, Vereshchuk said that residents of the besieged city of Mariupol would be able to evacuate via their own transportation to Zaporizhzhia. The corridors were not opened Wednesday. Vereshchuk said Russian forces had violated a cease-fire in Luhansk and blocked evacuation buses in Zaporizhzhia. The routes to Zaporizhzhia were expected to be open from Berdyansk, Tokmak and Enerhodar for those who have their own transportation. Evacuation routes are expected to be opened to Bakhmut, including Sieverodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Rubizhne and the village of Hirske. Vereshchuk said that humanitarian corridors in the Luhansk region would work under the condition of cessation of shelling by the occupying forces. Russia likely will review its Black Sea posture after the sinking of Moskva, U.K. says Russia is likely to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea after the flagship of its fleet there sank after an explosion, the British defense ministry said Friday. Russia s defense ministry said the Moskva sank as it was being towed after a fire caused by the detonation of ammunition, according to Russian state-owned media. Ukrainian defense officials said their forces struck it with two missiles. The Russian ministry said the crew had been evacuated. The Moskva served a key role as both a command vessel and an air defense node, according to the U.K. defense ministry in a daily update Friday. It was commissioned in 1979 and returned to service last year, it said. Russia has suffered damage to two key naval assets since invading Ukraine, the first of which was Russia's Alligator-class landing ship Saratov on 24 March. The U.K. ministry said that both events will likely lead Russia to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Thursday that the U.S. can't confirm Ukrainian reports of a missile strike, but can't refute it, and was unable to confirm what caused the explosion. We don't have perfect visibility on exactly what happened. He said that there was a significant explosion on this cruiser, which caused a fire.