Thu. May 30th, 2024

•Defense Ministry says states doing it may be regarded as participants of conflict

•UK, allies should be cautious in face of Russian threats, warns British military chief

By Elena Teslova and Muhammad Mussa

Russia on Sunday warned countries neighboring Ukraine who are mostly NATO members against providing military airfields for Ukrainian combat aircraft.

Speaking at a daily press briefing in Moscow, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Russia is aware of Ukrainian combat aviation trips to Romania and some other neighboring countries.

He said if any country provides airfields for Ukraine’s military aviation with subsequent use against the Russian armed forces it “may be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict.”

Konashenkov also confirmed that the Vinnytsia airfield of the Ukrainian Air Force was destroyed by high-precision long-range weapons.

He added that three more Ukrainian Su-27 fighter jets and three unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down on Sunday.

“In total, yesterday and incomplete today, the Ukrainian Air Force lost 11 combat aircraft and two helicopters. Almost all combat-ready aviation of the Kyiv regime has been destroyed,” he said.

The spokesman said defense enterprises, and military equipment maintenance and arms production facilities will be hit by high-precision weapons.

“In order to avoid a threat to the lives of employees of enterprises of the Ukrainian defense industry, we warn in advance about planned strikes on such objects.

“We call on the staff of the Ukrainian defense industry plants not to be led by the Kyiv regime of nationalists and to leave the territories of their enterprises,” he said.

Russia has launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, which has been met by an outcry from the international community, with the EU, UK, and US implementing a range of economic sanctions against Moscow.

At least 364 civilians, including 38 children and 42 women, have been killed, and 759 others injured in Ukraine so far, according to UN figures, with the real toll feared to be higher.

More than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, the latest data by the UN refugee agency showed.

Military biological program in Ukraine

Konashenkov also said the Russian armed forces found evidence of a military biological program which was being implemented in Ukraine and funded by the US Department of Defense.

“We have received documentation from employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories ordering the emergency destruction of especially dangerous pathogens of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera, and other deadly diseases on Feb. 24,” the spokesman said.

Currently, the documents are being analyzed by Russian specialists of the radiation, chemical, and biological protection troops, he added.

“It is obvious that the beginning of a special military operation raised serious concerns in the Pentagon about the disclosure of conducting secret biological experiments on the territory of Ukraine.

“The documents received confirmation that the development of biological weapon components was carried out in Ukrainian biological laboratories, in the immediate vicinity of the territory of Russia,” Konashenkov said.

According to the spokesman, the Ukrainian Health Ministry ordered all biolaboratories an emergency liquidation of stored stocks of dangerous pathogens “to hide a violation by the US of Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons.

Part of the documents has been already published by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian war on Ukraine

Konashenkov said the military offensive has been continuing successfully, with 11 more settlements falling under the control of the forces of Ukraine’s rebel regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

On Saturday night, 61 objects of the Ukrainian military infrastructure were hit in a mass strike, including 22 units of weapons and military equipment in an underground shelter, a brigade control point, nine ammunition warehouses and logistics facilities, and three radar posts, he added.

The spokesman also said the Starokonstantinov airfield in western Ukraine was hit with high-precision long-range weapons on Sunday morning.

So far, Russia has hit over 2,200 Ukrainian military infrastructure objects, including 76 control and communication centers, 111 air defense systems, and 71 radar stations.

Also, 93 Ukrainian aircraft, 778 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, and 77 multiple rocket launchers were destroyed, Konashenkov said.

Allies should be cautious in face of Russian threats-British military chief

•Admiral Radakin calls for calm amid ‘bizarre or ridiculous’ comments from President Putin

The British chief of defense staff on Sunday called on the UK government and its allies to be cautious of threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Admiral Tony Radakin warned against any unnecessary and irrational reactions to the Russian leader’s threats relating to Western sanctions against Moscow following its war on Ukraine.

“We’ve got to maintain a calmness and responsibility so (that) we don’t just react rashly to whatever is the latest, frankly at times, bizarre or ridiculous comment from President Putin,” Radakin said in an interview with BBC News.

“We are prepared, we will also be incredibly confident in our ability to face down President Putin,” Radakin added, emphasizing the UK’s membership in NATO, the world’s largest nuclear-armed military alliance.

The senior Royal Navy commander said it is not yet known as to whether Putin would use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but argued there would be “warning signs” of a possible nuclear conflict.

According to Radakin, the British government is communicating with Moscow, and Downing Street has an open and direct line to the Kremlin’s operational headquarters.

The admiral recently used the line to request a meeting with his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov but has yet to receive a response.

Skepticism over Russian response to cease-fire proposals

British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab expressed skepticism about Russian cease-fire proposals in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol after reported allegations of breaches by Russian forces.

He pointed out Putin’s track record of false promises and commitments, the most recent of which was his denial of any preparations to invade Ukraine.

“I am very skeptical about any assurances or commitments that President Putin makes. Of course, we want to do everything we can, we should exhaust all our opportunities to try and provide humanitarian relief,” Raab told the BBC.

“You only have to look at his track record in Syria to see that we need to be very careful to test any assurances that Vladimir Putin gives,” he added.

Raab made clear that Putin’s initial plans for the invasion have “stuttered” and that the UK should maintain a stranglehold on Russian banks and other entities that are bankrolling Putin’s “military machine.”

Russia’s war on Ukraine has been met by outrage from the international community with the EU, UK, and US, among others, implementing a range of economic sanctions on Moscow.

At least 351 civilians, including 22 children and 41 women, have been killed, and 707 others injured in Ukraine since Russia launched a war in the Eastern European country on Feb. 24, according to UN figures, with the real toll feared to be higher.

More than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, the latest data by the UN refugee agency showed.

Credit | AA

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