KYIV: Moscow announced on Tuesday it had for the first time downed a long-range rocket supplied to Ukraine by the United States, weapons Kyiv said were key to an anticipated counter-attack against Russian forces.
The statement from Russia’s defence ministry came a day after Ukraine said it received modern Leopard and Challenger battle tanks from Germany and the United Kingdom to push back Moscow’s army in east and southern Ukraine.
“Air defence (forces) downed... a GLSDB guided rocket,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement, referring to ground-launched small diameter bombs produced by Boeing and the Saab Group. These devices have a range of up to 150 kilometres, which would threaten Russian positions and supply depots far behind the front lines.
West’s Ukraine response exposes ‘double standards’, says Amnesty
The Pentagon announced last month it was providing Ukraine with the artillery as part of a $2.2 billion arms package.
‘Russia fires supersonic missile’
On Tuesday, Russia’s navy fired supersonic anti-ship missiles at a mock target in the Sea of Japan, the Russian defence ministry said.
“In the waters of the Sea of Japan, missile ships of the Pacific Fleet fired Moskit cruise missiles at a mock enemy sea target,” it said in a statement on its Telegram account.
“The target, located at a distance of about 100 kilometres, was successfully hit by a direct hit from two Moskit cruise missiles.” The P-270 Moskit missile, which has the Nato reporting name or SS-N-22 Sunburn, is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile of Soviet origin, capable of destroying a ship within a range of up to 120 km.
Japan’s foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tokyo will stay vigilant against Moscow’s military operations, while adding that no damage had been reported after the missile launches.
“As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Russian forces are also becoming more active in the Far East, including Japan’s vicinities,” Hayashi told a regular press conference.
Asked about Russia’s plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Hayashi said Japan condemned the move and demanded Russia and Belarus to stop “such an action that would further increase tensions”.
Outrage over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year has exposed the West’s “double standards” towards human rights abuses throughout the world, Amnesty International said.
In its annual world report for 2022, Amnesty pointed to what it described as the West’s silence on Saudi Arabia’s rights record, repression in Egypt and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
“The West’s formidable response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscored double standards, exposing in comparison how inconsequential their reactions have been to so many other violations of the UN Charter,” said Amnesty secretary general Agnes Callamard as she presented the group’s world report in Paris.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2023