Ukraine’s navy says that a Russian rescue vessel was rendered inoperable, following an aerial attack near Sevastopol, where the country’s Black Sea naval base is located on the occupied Crimean Peninsula.

Called Kommuna (commune), the ship sank in the early morning on April 21, Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said on Facebook.

The rescue ship had been operating since 1913, he added.

About a third of Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet has been decimated in the span of 26 months, Reuters news agency reported, citing Ukraine’s armed forces.

He said such attacks “will be repeated until the Russians run out of ships or they are withdraw from Crimea."

Having no real navy on its own, Kyiv has improvised its precision attacks on Russian naval vessels with Neptune rockets and homegrown surface drones.

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The Russian fleet’s flagship Moskva vessel was sunk in April 2022, for which Ukraine’s defense intelligence and Security Service jointly took responsibility.

The "Commune" Russian rescue vessel was reportedly damaged on April 21 at the Crimean peninsula. (Public Domain)

Zelensky, presidential office head, praise US advancement of Ukraine aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, gave promising expressions of gratitude for a US bill that is moving forward to provide more than $60 billion in assistance.

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Kallas said that training Ukraine’s forces on their territory would not be escalatory, adding that “Russia’s propaganda is about being at war with NATO; they don’t need an excuse.”

“We will have a chance at victory,” the president told US national broadcaster NBC news in a three-minute interview. Americans are not “funding” war in Ukraine, they are “protecting freedom.”

The lower House of Representatives passed its own bill after months of stalling on a similar bill that the Senate gave it.  

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Yermak told Atlanta-based CNN that the recently passed bill, which still needs a positive vote in the Senate, “increases our chances of defeating the aggressor, especially now, when we see that Russia is preparing for a new offensive.”

If the Senate doesn’t make amendments to the aid bill, then it will go to President Joe Biden’s desk in the White House for a signature and come into effect.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has resisted and tied aid to Ukraine with border security instead of advancing a separate bill for Ukraine.

Ukraine has heavily relied on Washington’s aid in the war and has been conceding territory to invading Russian forces due to dwindling munitions.

Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns over the week warned that Ukraine “could lose on the battlefield by the end of 2024.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as seen on April 21. (Office of the President of Ukraine)

Armed Forces of Ukraine: 65 frontline clashes took place on April 21

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Ukraine’s 1,000-kilometer front line saw the majority of Russian attacks concentrated mostly in the Donetsk region and focused in the Bakhmut direction, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) said on its Facebook page.

Two Russian Kh-59 cruise missiles were also intercepted on the same day.

The northeastern region of Kharkiv saw activity, but not Kupyansk, which is viewed as the gateway to Ukraine’s second-most populous city of Kharkiv.

"The enemy did not conduct offensive [assault] actions in the Kupyansk direction,” the AFU said. “More than 10 settlements came under artillery and mortar fire, including Sinkivka, Petropavlivka, Kotlyarivka of the Kharkiv region."

A Ukrainian soldier as seen on April 21. (General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)

Zelensky: By ‘Victory Day,’ Russia will try to seize strategic town of Chasiv Yar

A geographically elevated town in the Donetsk region is sought by Russia before the day it commemorates Victory in Europe Day, when Nazi Germany was defeated on the European continent in World War II.

Located 15 kilometers west of Bakhmut, which was taken in May 2023, Russia is now targeting Chasiv Yar to the west, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told US national broadcaster NBC news in a three-minute interview on April 21.

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"I visited the region recently. I talked to the soldiers. The soldiers say that they lack equipment," Zelensky said. "They need to fight Russian reconnaissance drones, which essentially guide the artillery. And we need artillery shells. I hope we will be able to stay, and the weapons will come on time, and we will repel the enemy and then we'll break the plans of the Russian Federation."

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