Russia unleashes hypersonic missiles in Ukraine

Russia unleashes hypersonic missiles in Ukraine

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Saturday, March 19, 2022, 11:20 PM IST
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Russian Ministry of Defence reports the first battle use of the hypersonic 'Kinzhal' missile system on a target in the town of Delyatyn, Naro-Fominsk region, western Ukraine | Twitter/@Karmabash

KYIV/MOSCOW: The Russian military on Saturday unleashed its latest hypersonic missile for the first time in combat.

The ‘unstoppable’ high-precision Kinzhal missile destroyed an underground warehouse storing Ukrainian missiles and aviation ammunition in the western part of the country.

The Kinzhal (Dagger), carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, has a range of up to 2,000 km and flies at 10 times the speed of sound.

Russian forces also used the anti-ship Bastion missile system to strike Ukrainian military facilities near the Black Sea port of Odesa.

The attacks came even as Britain's foreign secretary accused President Vladimir Putin of using talks with Ukraine as a “smokescreen” while he ramps up violence against the country.

Liz Truss told the Times that she was “very skeptical” about Russia's seriousness in the talks, accusing Putin’s forces of trying to create space to regroup and unblock their stalled campaign.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian forces are blockading the country’s largest cities to create a “humanitarian catastrophe” with the aim of persuading Ukrainians to cooperate with them.

He says Russians are preventing supplies from reaching surrounded cities in the centre and southeast of the country.

“This is a totally deliberate tactic,” Zelenskyy said in his night-time video address to the nation, filmed outside in Kyiv, with the presidential office in the lamplight behind him.

He again appealed to Putin to hold talks with him directly. “It's time to meet, time to speak,” he said. “I want to be heard by everyone, especially in Moscow.”

Ukrainian and Russian officials have, meanwhile, agreed to establish 10 humanitarian corridors for bringing aid in and residents out — one from Mariupol and several around Kyiv and in the eastern Luhansk region.

There also plans to deliver humanitarian aid to the southern city of Kherson, which was seized by Russian forces.

High above the conflict, three Russian cosmonauts arrived on Friday at the International Space Station wearing bright yellow flight suits with blue accents matching the colours of the Ukrainian flag. But cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev said every crew chooses its own suits, and they had a lot of yellow material they needed to use, “so that's why we had to wear yellow.”

Vladimir Medinsky, who has led Russian negotiators in several rounds of talks with Ukraine, said the two sides have moved closer to agreement on the issue of Ukraine dropping its bid to join NATO and adopting a neutral status. In remarks carried by Russian media, he said the sides are now “halfway” on issues regarding the demilitarization of Ukraine.

However, Mikhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyy, said that assessment was intended “to provoke tension in the media.” He tweeted: “Our positions are unchanged. Ceasefire, withdrawal of troops & strong security guarantees with concrete formulas.”

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