Russia Uses Hypersonic Missile For The First Time

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Damage after the shelling of kindergartens in the Chervonogvarde district of Makeyevka in the Donbass region by the Ukrainian armed forces on Saturday

THE conflict in Ukraine has seen Russia use its newest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles close to the border with NATO member Romania, while Kiev says it will soon receive a new shipment of advanced US weapons, including Javelin and Stinger missiles.

Russia said on Saturday it had fired hypersonic missiles from its ‘Kinzhal’ system in order to destroy an underground weapons storage site in the west of Ukraine.
Russia’s Interfax news agency said it was the first time Russia had deployed the hypersonic missiles since it sent troops into the former Soviet state on February 24.
The development comes as Ukraine’s Western allies have stepped up their delivery of weapons to the country to bolster its defences.
Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary, Oleksiy Danilov, said on Saturday that the country will receive a new shipment of US weapons within days, including Javelin and Stinger missiles.
‘The weapons will be on the territory of our country in the nearest future. We are talking about days,’ Danilov said.
In another bizarre twist, the United States has reportedly been pressuring Turkey to send its Russian-made equipment and systems, including S-300s and S-400s, to Ukraine to be used against Russia.
The idea, which analysts said is sure to be shot down by Turkey, is part of a wider discussion between US and Turkish officials about how the United States and its allies can do more to support Ukraine and also draw Turkey back into Washington’s orbit.
Russia’s State Duma (parliament) speaker has urged the US and NATO to stop sending weapons and mercenaries to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, dozens of soldiers were killed after Russian troops struck a Ukrainian military barracks in the southern city of Mykolaiv, according to witnesses.
‘No fewer than 200 soldiers were sleeping in the barracks’ when Russian troops struck early Friday, a Ukrainian serviceman on the ground told the western media.
‘At least 50 bodies have been recovered, but we do not know how many others are in the rubble,’ he said.
Also on Saturday, Russian forces bombed a Mariupol art school where 400 residents were sheltering, the city’s council said on Sunday, adding that people – including women, children and the elderly – ‘are still under the rubble’ of the destroyed G12 art school.
There was no immediate word of casualties.
In his late night broadcast, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the siege of Mariupol would ‘go down in history of responsibility for war crimes.
‘To do this to a peaceful city… is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come.’
More than 6,600 Ukrainians were evacuated from besieged cities through eight humanitarian corridors on Saturday, Zelensky, said.
The UN refugee agency said on Friday that more than 3.3 million refugees have now fled Ukraine since the Russian military action, while nearly 6.5 million have been internally displaced within the country.
‘People continue to flee because they are afraid of bombs, airstrikes and indiscriminate destruction,’ UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said.
The UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also said that as of Wednesday, 162,000 third-country nationals had fled Ukraine.
In a live address to a Swiss rally on Saturday, Zelensky also blasted firms including Nestle for carrying on business as usual with Russia ‘even though our children are dying.’
He urged Swiss companies to stop doing business in Russia and asked the country’s banks to freeze funds belonging to the ‘Kremlin elite’.
Zelensky said it was ‘painful’ that those behind the conflict had funds stashed in Switzerland.
Thousands of demonstrators who had gathered in the square in front of the Federal Palace heard Zelensky’s nine-minute speech translated in German, though technical problems interrupted the video from Kiev.
Meanwhile, tensions have escalated between the US and China over the conflict with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying that Beijing stands on the right side of history, as time will tell, and that its position is in line with that of most countries.
This came after US President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Friday of ‘consequences’ if Beijing gives material support to Russia’s military.
‘China will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and opposes any unfounded accusations and suspicions against China,’ Wang told reporters on Saturday evening.

  • The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has dismissed reports that its fighters are in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the green light last week for up to 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East to fight in Ukraine, prompting some Western media outlets to speculate that Hezbollah fighters and experts were being sent to fight alongside Russian forces in Ukraine.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, however, rejected the reports on Friday, saying, ‘No one from Hezbollah, neither a fighter nor an expert, went to this arena or any of the arenas of these wars.’
Meanwhile, Syrian president Bashar Assad’s visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last Friday was his first visit to an Arab state since the beginning of foreign-backed militancy in his country in 2011.
The Syrian president met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, among other senior Emirati officials.
The trip was the latest sign of warming ties between the two countries after the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in 2018 and sent its foreign minister to visit Syria in late 2021.
Washington-based Persian Gulf analyst Theodore Karasik told Voice of America (VOA) that ‘Assad’s visit to the UAE has been in the works for a long time,’ but that its timing has some relation to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and a possible restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Karasik further said that the UAE’s decision to host Assad reflects its ‘unhappiness’ with the current US policy and bilateral relations, prompting the Emirates ‘to take matters into their own hands.’
Meanwhile, Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, told VOA that Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Algeria are also leaning toward renewing ties with the Assad government.
Additionally, Hussam Shuaib, a Syrian political expert, told China’s Xinhua news agency that the UAE provides Syria with the gateway back to the Arab League and its role in the Arab world.
‘It’s without doubt that the political significance of this visit would reflect positively not only on bilateral ties but on the Syrian-Arab relations in general,’ he said.
The visit, he added, also implies trade opportunities from the Arab world for Syria to counter Western economic sanctions.
‘As a result of the economic situation and ongoing conflicts, Syria … also needs cooperation on the economic level, and there should be coordination and reopening as well for bilateral trade in goods,’ Shuaib asserted.
The UAE itself is interested in thawing ties with Syria ‘because the UAE needs to get rid of the Yemeni quagmire, and so does Saudi Arabia.
‘Both apparently want to rearrange political relations with Iran, to which Syria is a close ally.’
The remarks came after US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Assad’s visit to the UAE left Washington ‘profoundly disappointed,’ urging allies to avoid normalising ties with Damascus.
The US has reacted bitterly to Syrian president Assad’s trip to the UAE.
‘America today is not at its best in front of new changes in the world,’ said Shuaib, noting that Price’s comments reflect a ‘state of disappointment’ by Washington about the positive change in the Arab attitude toward Syria.
‘If we follow the American policy over all the past decades, we will see that it is based externally on creating chaos in the world and stirring sectarian, religious, and ethnic conflicts,’ he emphasised.
Similarly, Emad Salem, a political expert, said Assad’s visit comes at the right time and will restore Arab unity despite US dissatisfaction.
‘The Persian Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have begun to look at the future of relations with Washington, and relations with other countries of the world from the perspective of their interests,’ he added.
In a post on his Twitter account, Thierry Mariani, a French Member of the European Parliament, said after the victory of President Assad in the war, more countries have restored ties with Syria.
If France wants to preserve its role in this region, it must do the same, he wrote. ‘This will be a path to a better fight against terrorism and will help the return of refugees.’