Russia hits Kyiv with missiles; Prez Putin warns West on arms

Russia hits Kyiv with missiles; Prez Putin warns West on arms

Kyiv: Russia took aim at Western military supplies for Ukraine's government with early Sunday airstrikes in Kyiv that it said destroyed tanks donated from abroad, a claim denied by a Ukrainian official.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any Western deliveries of long-range rocket systems to Ukraine would prompt Moscow to hit objects that we haven't yet struck.

The cryptic threat of a military escalation from the Russian leader didn't specify what the new targets might be, but it comes days after the United States announced plans to deliver USD 700 million of security assistance for Ukraine.

Those weapons include four precision-guided, medium-range rocket systems, helicopters, Javelin anti-tank weapon systems, radars, tactical vehicles and more.

Military analysts say Russia is hoping to overrun Ukraine's the embattled eastern industrial Donbas region, where Russia-backed separatists have fought the Ukrainian government since 2014, before any US weapons that might turn the tide arrive.

The Pentagon said last week it will take at least three weeks to get the precision US weapons onto the battlefield.

Ukraine's General Staff said Russian forces fired five X-22 cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea toward Kyiv, and one was destroyed by air defenses.

Four others missiles hit infrastructure facilities, but Ukraine said there were no casualties.

Nuclear plant operator Energoatom said one cruise missile buzzed close to the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant, 350 kilometers (220 miles) to the south, and warned of the catastrophic dangers if such a near miss turned into a direct hit.

In a posting on the Telegram app, the Russian Defense Ministry said high-precision, long-range air-launched missiles were used. It said the strikes on the outskirts of Kyiv destroyed T-72 tanks supplied by Eastern European countries and other armored vehicles located in buildings of a train car repair business.

But the head of Ukraine's railway system rejected the claim that tanks were inside. Oleksandr Kamyshin said four missiles hit the Darnytsia car repair plant, but no military equipment has been stored there. He said the site was used to repair gondolas and grain carriers for exporting products.

Russia has once again lied, he wrote on Telegram. Their (Russia's) real goal is the economy and the civilian population. They want to block our ability to export Ukrainian products."

In a television interview that aired Sunday, Putin lashed out at Western deliveries of weapons to Ukraine, saying they aim to prolong the conflict.

All this fuss around additional deliveries of weapons, in my opinion, has only one goal: To drag out the armed conflict as much as possible, Putin said. He insisted such supplies were unlikely to change the military situation much for Ukraine's government, which he said was merely making up for losses of similar rockets that they already had.

If Kyiv gets longer-range rockets, he added, Moscow will draw appropriate conclusions and use our means of destruction, which we have plenty of, in order to strike at those objects that we haven't yet struck.

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