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Kyiv: Ukraine’s navy said Thursday that it sank a large landing ship near the port city of Berdyansk that had been used to supply Russian forces with armored vehicles.

Photos and videos after the naval attack showed fire and thick plumes of smoke. Russian TV reported earlier this week that the ship, the Orsk, was the first Russian warship to enter Berdyansk. The port was going to be used to deliver military equipment for the Russians, the report said.

Ukraine’s cities stood under relentless Russian fire on Thursday, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked NATO leaders gathered in Brussels to provide unlimited aid — including planes, tanks, and other weapons — saying his country is “defending our common values.”

Ukraine also accused Moscow of forcibly taking hundreds of thousands of civilians to Russia so they could be used as “hostages” to pressure surrender. But Russia says it’s evacuating civilians of their own free will.

Ukraine’s president has pleaded with NATO to provide his embattled nation with military assistance. In a video address to the NATO summit Thursday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine needs “military assistance without limitations,” as Russia is “using its entire arsenal” against the country. Zelenskyy urged NATO to provide Ukraine with “1 percent of all your planes, 1 percent of all your tanks.” “We can’t just buy those,” Zelenskyy said. “When we will have all this, it will give us, just like you, 100 percent security.”

Meanwhile concerns in Europe mount that Russia might use chemical and nuclear weapons in Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military alliance is stepping up its defenses against any possible use of chemical and nuclear weapons.

Stoltenberg says that NATO leaders agreed at their summit Thursday to send equipment to Ukraine to help protect it against a chemical weapons attack. “This could include detection equipment, protection, and medical support, as well as training for decontamination and crisis management,” he told reporters after meeting in Brussels.

But Stoltenberg says the 30 NATO allies are boosting their own “preparedness and readiness.”

The leaders agreed Thursday to deploy four new battlegroups, which usually number from 1,000-1,500 troops to Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Four other battlegroups are stationed in the Baltic States and Poland.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: AP)

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