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Kiev: Russia preparing massive missile attacks

Ghana News Agency (GNA) logo Ghana News Agency (GNA) 02/02/2023 GNA

Kiev, Feb 2, (dpa/GNA) – Russia is preparing a massive new missile attack on targets in Ukraine, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command said on Thursday, pointing to movements by the Russian Black Sea fleet.

Most of the fleet had returned to its bases, and this suggested a new missile strike, Natalya Humenyuk told Ukrainian television.

Since Russian forces launched a campaign of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure in October, most of the cruise missiles have been fired from naval vessels on the Black Sea, and Caspian Sea or from strategic bombers.

According to Humenyuk, only 10 Russian ships are still at sea, whereas there are usually considerably more, most of them submarines.

Turkish minister slams US, European countries for closing missions

Istanbul (dpa) – Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Thursday accused the United States and certain European countries of waging “psychological war” on Turkey by closing their diplomatic missions in the country on fears of a terrorist threat.

Soylu said the countries had purposefully chosen Friday, precisely the day on which Turkey set a target of attracting 60 million tourists a year.

The warnings from the US, Germany, Sweden, Britain and Switzerland of increased risk of attack in Turkey came after tensions between Turkey and some European countries flared over protests Ankara considers Islamophobic or anti-Turkish.

Most recently, the right-wing extremist Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan set a Koran on fire in front of a mosque in Stockholm, threatening to do this every week until Turkey approved Sweden’s accession to NATO.

Berlin too has warned the public of a risk and the Foreign Ministry has not lifted its warning, saying that its general consulate in Istanbul would remain closed on Friday.

It cited “precise and concrete” information of a threat, mentioning in particular Istanbul’s Beyoglu inner city area, the Istiklal shopping street and Taksim Square, as well as the Levent quarter, which is home to many consulates.

It did not name any groups behind the threat.

Sweden, along with Finland, wants to join NATO as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine. All NATO members must agree to this but Turkey and Hungary have not yet said yes.

Erdogan is on the campaign trail, with parliamentary and presidential elections expected to be held in mid-May. Erdogan’s religious indignation plays well with his conservative base.

“They show their muscle for a time at sea, demonstrate their presence and control over the situation, and then sail to the bases, where they usually prepare for manoeuvres for a massive missile attack,” the Ukrainian military spokesperson said.

Russian missile attacks have severely impaired Ukraine’s electrical power supply and other utilities. Millions of people have been left without electricity, heating and water for extended periods during the long winter nights.

The attacks have repeatedly hit residential blocks, as recently in Dnipro, where 45 people were killed and 80 injured on January 14.

The latest warning comes almost a year after the Kremlin’s invasion began.

US Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, addressed Ukraine’s need for weapons and artillery, ahead of the new offensive at a press conference during his visit to the Philippines.

When asked about Kiev’s request for more F-16 fighter jets, Secretary Austin said: “We are focused on providing Ukraine the capability that it needs to be effective in its upcoming, anticipated counteroffensive in the spring.”

“And so we are doing everything we can to give them the capabilities they need right now to be effective on the battle field.”

He said both air defence and armoured vehicle capability were “in play,” and stressed that the US was committed to increasing military training for Ukrainians.

Meanwhile, the daily British intelligence report on Russia’s war on Ukraine said Russia’s reliability as an arms exporter, was “highly likely being undermined by its invasion of Ukraine and international sanctions”.

The report said Russia’s stake in the international arms trade was declining, even before the war and that this was “almost certainly” being exacerbated by Russia’s need for its own arms for its offensive against Ukraine.

The country was dealing with shortages in its supply of “armoured vehicles, attack helicopters and air defence systems,” for example, said the ministry on Twitter on Thursday.



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