Russia uses advanced hypersonic missiles in Ukraine for the first time


Russia used its latest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in Ukraine for the first time on Friday to destroy a weapons storage site in the west of the country, the Defense Ministry said.


Russia has never previously admitted to using the high-precision weapon in combat, and state news agency RIA Novosti said it was the first use of Kinzhal hypersonic weapons during the conflict in Pro-Western Ukraine.

“The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large underground warehouse with missiles and aviation ammunition in the village of Delyatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region,” the Russian ministry said on Saturday. of the defense.

A defense ministry spokesman declined to comment when reached by AFP.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the Kinzhal (Dagger) missile “the ideal weapon” that flies at 10 times the speed of sound and can defeat air defense systems.

The Kinzhal missile was among a range of new weapons Putin unveiled in his 2018 State of the Nation address.
Deliatyn, a village at the foot of the picturesque Carpathian Mountains, is located outside the city of Ivano-Frankivsk.
The Ivano-Frankivsk region shares a 50 kilometer long border with NATO member Romania.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky issued a fresh call for talks with Moscow on March 19, as Russia said its troops entered the center of the beleaguered port city of Mariupol.


As fierce fighting between local forces and Russian troops rages across the country more than three weeks after the start of the invasion, the two sides are already conducting negotiations from a distance.

But so far, as in previous rounds, the talks have yielded little progress, with both sides blaming the other, and neither has been at the presidential level.

“It’s time to meet, to talk, time to renew territorial integrity and fairness for Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a video posted on Facebook.

“Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be such that several generations will not recover.”
The Russian offensive remains largely stalled, a US defense official said, with troops about 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of the capital kyiv facing heavy resistance.

The official added that Russian forces had made no further progress in the northeastern city of Kharkiv, which they surrounded, and that the Ukrainians were also defending the northern city of Chernihiv.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russia was struggling to supply its forward troops with “even basic necessities such as food and fuel” due to Ukrainian attacks on their supply lines.

But the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that the military and its separatist allies had made a breakthrough in Mariupol, which had been under Russian bombardment for days, and were now inside the city.


“In Mariupol, units of the Donetsk People’s Republic, with the support of the Russian armed forces, are pressing the encirclement and fighting the nationalists in the city center,” the ministry said.

The city’s mayor confirmed to the BBC that shootings had reached the heart of Mariupol.
On Friday, rescuers were still searching for hundreds of people trapped under the rubble of a bombed-out theater.
At the time of the attack, the Mariupol City Council said more than 1,000 people had taken shelter in the basement of the theater when it was hit on Wednesday.


On Friday, the council said one person was seriously injured, but there were no fatalities, the only casualty count given so far.

There was still no information on potential fatalities, Zelensky said, but 130 people have been rescued so far, some of them “seriously injured”. 9,000 people were evacuated from Mariupol, he added.
As Putin’s ground offensive has been met with fierce Ukrainian resistance, Moscow has increasingly turned to indiscriminate air and long-range strikes.

In southern Ukraine, Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said on Facebook that several villages in the area had been occupied and the town had come under heavy fire, calling it a “difficult day”.
Ukrainian media reported that Russian forces carried out a large-scale airstrike on Mykolaiv, killing at least 40 Ukrainian soldiers at their brigade headquarters.

Earlier, Russian missiles hit an aircraft repair site near Lviv airport in far western Ukraine, spreading the war to a relatively untouched region near the border with Poland, a member of NATO.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the strike was a “high precision” attack on Ukrainian military infrastructure.
In Kyiv, authorities said one person was killed when a Russian rocket hit residential towers in the northwestern suburbs. They said a school and a playground were also hit.
More than 3.25 million refugees have fled Ukraine.


Zelensky accused Russian forces of blocking aid around sensitive areas, saying “they have a strict order to do everything, so the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukrainian cities has become a reason for Ukrainians to work with the occupiers.” — adding “it’s a war crime”.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin also accused kyiv of war crimes during a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, and said Moscow was doing “everything possible” to avoid civilian deaths.

As world powers maneuver to respond to the bloody three-week invasion, Washington said President Joe Biden had warned his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping of the “consequences” of any support for Russia.
The United States fears that China will provide financial and military aid to Moscow, turning an already explosive transatlantic standoff into a global confrontation.

During the nearly two-hour phone call, Xi said the war was ‘in nobody’s interest’ but showed no sign of bowing to US pressure to join in the condemnation. western Russia.
However, Moscow’s diplomatic isolation deepened when the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats, following Bulgaria.
The International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other major global lenders warned on Friday that the “devastating human catastrophe” unfolding in Ukraine risks causing “widespread” economic fallout around the world.

Historically, Ukraine has been a breadbasket of grain exporters to the world.
“The broader global economy will feel the effects of the crisis through slower growth, trade disruptions and higher inflation,” the lenders said.

Italy announced on Friday it would tax extra profits made by energy companies due to soaring prices and Belgium delayed a plan to phase out nuclear power by 2025 by a decade, also spooked by the huge peak.

Undeterred by reports of military setbacks or international condemnations, Putin on Friday staged a large triumphalist rally at a Moscow soccer stadium with a sea of ​​Russian flags, pro-Kremlin pop stars and chants of ” Russia! Russia! Russia!”
Marking eight years since Russia’s annexation of Crimea to Ukraine, tens of thousands of people took part, many of whom wore ribbons with the letter “Z” that appears on Russian tanks invading Ukraine.
Putin said the Russian military was in Ukraine “to rid these people of their suffering and genocide.”

For many Ukrainians, Russia’s actions on the ground and in the air poke fun at this rationale and the stop-start peace talks that have been unfolding this week.
But in an appeal to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin accused the Ukrainian authorities of blocking the talks by “putting forward increasingly unrealistic proposals”.

“Nevertheless, the Russian side is ready to continue to seek solutions in line with its well-known principled approaches,” the Kremlin said.
Russia wants Ukraine to disarm and disavow all Western alliances – moves that kyiv says would make it a vassal state of Moscow.

Russia’s chief negotiator said on Friday that Moscow and Kyiv had brought their positions “as closely as possible” closer together on a proposal to make Ukraine a neutral state.
But Mikhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky involved in the talks, said his country’s position had not budged.
“All statements are intended, among other things, to cause tension in the media,” he wrote on Twitter.