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Friday, December 09, 2022

Russia fired missiles at Kyiv; Putin warns the West

KYV, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Russia attacked Western weapons supplies to Ukraine on Sunday, launching an airstrike on Kyiv that it said destroyed tanks donated by foreign nations, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that any western delivery of long-range rockets to hit Moscow will take place. “Target we haven’t hit.”

The Russian president’s veiled threat of escalating the offensive did not specify what those new targets might be. He announced his warning days after the United States announced plans to provide $700 million in security aid to Ukraine, which would include four medium-range precision rocket systems, as well as helicopters, Javelin anti-tank systems, radar and tactical missile systems. Vehicles are included. ,

Military analysts say Russia hopes to completely take over the troubled industrial region of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting with the Ukrainian government since 2014 before any US weapons arrived. that could change the course of the war. The Pentagon reported last week that it would take at least three weeks to bring those weapons to the battlefield.

Ukraine noted that missiles aimed at the capital hit a train repair shop. Elsewhere in Russia’s eastern city of Druzhkivka, airstrikes destroyed buildings and killed at least one person, a Ukrainian official said. Residents describe walking to the sound of missile impacts, debris and glass falling all around them.

“It was like a horror movie,” said Svitlana Romashkina.

The Russian Defense Ministry said precision air-launched missiles were used to destroy workshops in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, including Druzhkivka, where damaged military equipment was being repaired.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian forces fired five X-22 cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea towards Kyiv, one of which was destroyed by anti-aircraft systems. The other four affected “infrastructure” but there were no casualties, Ukrainian officials said.

Nuclear plant operator Energotom said a cruise missile passed 350 kilometers (220 mi) to the south near the Pivdnoukrensk plant, apparently on its way to Kyiv. He warned that a nuclear catastrophe could have occurred if even a single piece of the shell had hit the facility.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram that the missiles hitting Kyiv destroyed T-72 tanks supplied by Eastern European countries and other armored vehicles.

Later, the Railway Authority took the journalists on a guided tour of the Railway Carriage Repair Plant in East Kyiv, which was hit by four missiles. The authority assured that no military equipment was stored at the site, and Associated Press reporters saw no military remains at the site.

“There were no tanks, and you can see it,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Serhi Leshchenko.

However, a government adviser said on national television that attacks on military infrastructure had also been reported. Journalists from Andhra Pradesh saw a burning building in an area near a damaged rail shop. Two residents of that district said the warehouse from which the smoke was rising was part of a tank repair facility. Police blocked access to the site, telling an Associated Press reporter that military officers had prohibited taking pictures of the site.

In a televised interview broadcast on Sunday, Putin lambasted the delivery of Western weapons to Ukraine, saying they aimed to prolong the war.

“All this fuss about the additional deliveries of weapons serves, in my opinion, only one purpose: to prolong the armed conflict as long as possible,” the president declared. He insisted that such a supply was unlikely to change the military situation for Ukraine’s government, which he said was only to compensate for the loss of similar rockets.

If Kyiv receives long-range rockets, he said, Moscow “will draw the appropriate conclusions and we will use our means of destruction to strike targets, of which we have many, which we have not yet attacked.” has done.”

The United States has refrained from offering Ukraine long-range weapons that could reach deep into Russian territory. But the four medium-range, high-mobility artillery rocket systems included in the protection package are mobile launchers that allow soldiers to quickly engage and steer a target, which could prove useful against Russian artillery on the battlefield. Huh.

Spanish daily El País reported on Sunday that Spain plans to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and 40 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks. The Spanish Defense Ministry did not comment on the report.

Prior to Sunday morning’s attack, Kyiv had not faced such a Russian offensive since the visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on April 28. The arrival of the rockets set off anti-aircraft sirens and made it clear that despite focusing its efforts to capture Ukrainian territory in the east, Russia still had the ability and the ability to launch attacks into the heart of Ukraine. desire.

In recent days, Russian forces have focused on capturing the eastern cities of Svyarodonetsk and Lisichansk. On Sunday he continued his advance, launching air and missile attacks on the cities and towns of Donbass.

In the cities of Sloviansk and Bakhmut it was possible to see military vehicles fleeing the battlefield. Dozens of military medics and ambulances worked to evacuate Ukrainian civilians and soldiers, and a hospital was treating the wounded, many wounded by Russian artillery.

The British military noted in its daily intelligence update that Ukrainian counterattacks at Svyarodonetsk “are likely reducing the operational momentum that the Russian military had previously built up on combat power and units at large.” Previously, Russian troops had made several advances in the city, but Ukrainian fighters have forced them to withdraw in recent days.

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Associated Press writers David Keaton and Hannah Arhirova in Kiev contributed to this report.

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