Mykolaiv: Russia strikes regional administration building
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Hypersonic missiles travel five times faster than the speed of sound and are unable to be stopped by traditional operational defence systems. Air Force General Tod Wolters, the top US military commander in Europe, told a US Senate hearing earlier today that Russia has repeatedly fired the missiles at Ukrainian military targets. He said: “Most of those strikes have been designated at specific military targets.”
Just ten days ago, Russia announced that it used hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles to destroy a large weapons depot in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine.
This latest development comes after the Kremlin gave its strongest indication yet that it will scale back its invasion in Ukraine, after its invasion has made limited progress.
The Russian defence ministry said that the “first phase” of operations was complete, adding that it would now “focus” its “core efforts” on the Donbas region.
Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy said the “main objectives of the first stage of the operation have generally been accomplished”.
However, Russian forces have so far failed to capture Kyiv, despite Putin previously suggesting that capturing the capital and toppling Zelensky’s government was an objective.
Russian deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin also said Moscow has decided to “fundamentally cut back” operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv.
This, he said, was part of an effort to “increase mutual trust” at peace talks, currently taking place in Istanbul.
The announcement signals the first major concession made by Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
Chief Russian negotiator Vladimir Medisnky described the talks, which took place over several hours, as “constructive”.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US has not seen any evidence that peace talks between Ukraine and Russia were advancing in a “constructive way”.
During a visit to Morocco, he added: “There is what Russia says and there is what Russia does, and we’re focused on the latter.
“And what Russia is doing is the continued brutalisation of Ukraine.”
He also said that Moscow officials would be “profoundly fooling themselves … if they somehow believe that an effort to subjugate only the eastern part of Ukraine or the southern part of Ukraine … can succeed”.
The Russian invasion has been advancing slower than expected, with high numbers of Russian casualties.
The Ukrainian Army has estimated that 15,600 Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting so far.
This figure would mean that more Russian soldiers have died in around a month of fighting than those that were killed during the Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted for a decade.
Between 2,000 and 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers are believed to have been killed, according to US estimates.
Meanwhile, almost 3.9 million people have left the country and an estimated 6.5 million people have been displaced within Ukraine itself.
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