RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin ‘prevented a humanitarian catastrophe when he launched the special operation in Ukraine,’ speaker of the Russian State Duma (lower parliament house) Vyacheslav Volodin said on Sunday.
The Russian president ‘has done his best to ensure Russia’s security,’ to protect people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), he said in an interview with the Moscow.Kremlin.Putin programme on the Duma TV channel.
‘Something horrible might have happened but for his decision to begin the special military operation. He warned about what might have happened. Troops had already been pulled to the Donbass boundaries and the whole thing might have ended in a humanitarian catastrophe, with numerous casualties,’ he said.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in response to a request for help by the heads of the Donbass republics.
He stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territories, but aimed to demilitarise and denazify the country. The West then began to impose large-scale sanctions on Russia and intensify weapons supplies to Ukraine. Some Western politicians openly admit that this is actually an economic war on Russia.
- The Russian military says its Aerospace Forces have managed to destroy two Ukrainian army hangers storing US-made M777 howitzers in the Donetsk region, where heavy fighting is under way between Russian and Ukrainian troops.
In a statement on Sunday, the Russian Defence Ministry said that the destroyed hangers were near the industrial city of Kostyantynivka.
‘Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery destroyed 17 command posts, four platoons of Grad multiple-launch rocket systems, and two hangars near Kostyantynivka containing US-made M777 howitzers, which had been used to shell residential areas of Donetsk,’ it said.
The howitzer guns were part of an $800 million weapons package announced by the administration of US President Joe Biden back in April which also included armoured personnel carriers, helicopters and tens of thousands of artillery shells.
‘Artillery units were defeated at firing positions in 42 districts, as well as manpower and Armed Forces of Ukraine military equipment in 143 districts,’ the ministry said.
According to the statement, Russian forces also destroyed three command posts in the Soledar, Minkovka and Bakhmut regions of Donetsk, manpower and military equipment in 16 districts, including the Kraken nationalist formation in the Kharkov region, in a single day.
Since the onset of Russia’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its European allies have unleashed a flood of advanced weapons into Ukraine and imposed waves of unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.
On July 3rd, Moscow said its forces and their allies had taken full control of Lugansk after capturing the final Ukrainian holdout of Lysychansk.
Russia has, time and again, said the Western flood of weapons will not force Moscow to end the operation before it’s achieved its objectives. The Kremlin has also warned that the unprecedented sanctions against Russia, plus the flow of arms into Ukraine, would only prolong the war.
Ukraine hopes to outnumber the Russians both technologically and in quantities of artillery in the ongoing war. Kiev heavily relies on its Western allies to support and fulfil their promises to regain the Donbass, repeatedly asking for more weapons from the West.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has signed off a new weapons shipment worth $400 million for Ukraine that includes four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and more ammunition, this would bring the total number of these systems to 12, a senior US military official said last Friday, on condition of anonymity.
‘Ukraine has now been successfully striking Russian locations in Ukraine, deeper behind the front lines and disrupting Russia’s ability to conduct that artillery operation,’ he added.
He further insisted that all the HIMARS supplied to Kiev forces so far are accounted for, rejecting an announcement earlier this week by Russia’s Defence Ministry that it had destroyed two HIMARS systems and their ammunition depots in eastern Ukraine.
The approval of the newest weapons shipment to Ukraine – which brings the total US military aid to Kiev to nearly $7.3 billion since February – also includes more precise ammunition for howitzer artillery systems, which are available to American military forces but have not previously been supplied to Ukraine.
The development comes as the US and its mostly European allies continue to supply Ukraine with increasingly sophisticated arms.
Washington began providing the key precision rocket weapon system to Ukraine last month after receiving assurances from Kiev that it would not use them to strike targets inside Russian territory.
So far, Kiev has not used HIMARS systems to strike targets outside of Ukraine, the US official claimed.
The approval of the arms shipment last Friday came a day after a bipartisan pair of US war hawks – Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal – met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who begged them for more weapons, especially air defence systems.
Blumenthal and Graham have been two of the most ardently anti-Russia voices in the US Congress.
- The Russian military is continuing to record the crimes of the Kiev regime against civilians.
According to the Ministry of Defence, Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist formations take positions in kindergartens and schools.
‘On the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, they seized two educational institutions, placed firing points, heavy weapons in them and set up roadblocks at the entrance to the buildings.
‘Nobody evacuated civilians from their houses. On the contrary, they are used as a human shield,’ the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of Russia for Humanitarian Response said.
There is a similar situation in Kharkov. The Armed Forces of Ukraine use the lower and upper floors of residential buildings. People were forbidden to leave their apartments.
Near Krivoy Rog, the militants mined the side of the asphalt road between Krysny Pod and Radushny. The Ukrainian authorities are also preventing the evacuation of citizens from the combat zone.
Nevertheless, over the past 24 hours, more than 25,000 people have been brought to Russia, of which over 4,000 are children.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine in Kharkov, due to heavy losses and desertion from their ranks, are recruiting prisoners into the defence brigade.
The withdrawal of Russian troops from Kharkov in mid-May was caused by the need to deprive the Kieve regime of the opportunity to accuse the RF Armed Forces of shelling civilians.
As part of the special military operation, the Russian army delivers precision strikes against military infrastructure facilities. One of the tactics of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is the shelling of civilian objects in order to accuse the Russian Federation of this.
One of the residents of Kharkov spoke about what is happening in the city after the withdrawal of the RF Armed Forces.
‘Of course, the biggest destruction is the outskirts of Severnaya Saltovka, the village of Zhukovsky and the Rogansky residential area.
‘The so-called “internal” areas of the city also fully felt the vile tactics of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,’ the Kharkiv resident told Ukraina.ru.
‘Empty windows are being boarded up, power grids are being restored in the villages of Zhukovsky, Severnaya Saltovka and Rogan. Several bus and tram routes have been launched. Residents have been evicted from the metro and its work has been restored.’
According to Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov: ‘The West started having supply issues. It’s not that they didn’t want to help Ukraine, but their military-industrial complex was not ready for supplies before the conflict began.
‘Everything that remains in the warehouses now needs to be transported to Ukraine. Let the EU start its own mass production: even 155mm shells are in long-term storage, and they are in stock,’ the analyst said as quoted by Pravda.ru.
The West is constantly negotiating with President Volodymyr Zelensky on the provision of new types of weapons, both at the level of defence ministries and at the level of leaders, Leonkov said, adding:
‘The Armed Forces of Ukraine do receive help, but much less than they need.
‘The West demands results by autumn and promises additional deliveries only if they are achieved. After all, the production of weapons is very expensive. And then there are the rising prices for energy resources …
‘Therefore, the President of Ukraine can make any forecasts he wants, but the special operation will end when Russia decides.’