Ukraine: Russian Oniks missiles fired from Bastion systems
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Footage of three high-precision Oniks missiles being launched from the ground by Vladimir Putin’s troops was shared by the Russian Ministry of Defence, which said it had struck at American and European weapons supplied to Ukraine.
A statement from the ministry read: “Hangars containing unmanned Bayraktar TB2 drones, as well as missiles and ammunition from the US and European countries, were destroyed.”
It had also destroyed a runway at a military airfield, the ministry added, with Odesa regional governor Maksym Marchenko saying the Kremlin had used a Bastion missile, launched from Crimea.
Mr Marchenko said in a video posted online: “Thank God no one was hurt. Anti-sabotage measures are being carried out in the region.”
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Odesa mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov said it had taken 10 years to design and build the new runway, which was formally opened last July.
He wrote on Facebook: “Thanks to the new runway we were expecting a colossal influx of tourists from all over the world. Instead, we got a rocket strike.
“But Odesa is not a city which surrenders to difficulties. We will absolutely restore the runway after our victory and even more tourists will come to us.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a late-night address: “The Odesa airport runway was destroyed. We will, of course, rebuild it. But Odesa will never forget Russia’s behaviour towards it.”
Odesa, a strategic Black Sea port city, has been under increased aggression.
On Tuesday, a 14-year-old boy was killed and a 17-year-old girl was wounded in a missile strike that hit a dormitory.
Mr Zelensky asked: “How did these children and the dormitory threaten the Russian state?”
The president said 220 Ukrainian children have been killed since the start of the invasion on February 24, and that at least 1,570 educational institutions have been destroyed or damaged by shelling.
The secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, Oleksiy Danylov, said the missile strike also hit a church, blowing off its roof.
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Russia’s use of missiles on land targets seems to be linked to the transport of military equipment from the West into Ukraine.
After Moscow threatened to go after shipments of weapons, there appears to be a change of tactic that is thought to be related to the army’s significant losses in combat.
On Monday, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said more than a quarter of the 120 battalion units Putin committed to Ukraine have now been rendered combat-ineffective – a figure that represents about 65 percent of the Kremlin’s entire ground combat strength.
The MoD claimed: “Some of Russia’s most elite units, including the VDV Airborne Forces, have suffered the highest levels of attrition.
“It will probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces.”
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry, meanwhile, said Putin’s forces have lost 23,800 soldiers, 1,048 tanks, 2,519 armoured personnel carriers, 459 artillery systems, 194 aircraft and 84 cruise missiles.
The Pentagon believes there are 93 Russian battalion tactical groups still fighting in the war, each consisting of up to 900 personnel, although many are no longer at full strength.
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