The Ukrainian military authorities today activated the anti-aircraft alert throughout the country due to the possibility of a Russian attack with the supersonic ‘Kinzhal’ missile, declared the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yurii Ignat, at a press conference.
“An alert has been declared throughout Ukraine for the takeoff of a Russian MiG-31K plane, which is the one carrying the Kinzhal missiles,” said Ignat, who warned that the Ukrainian army does not have anti-aircraft defenses capable of protecting the entire territory. of this type of missile.
“I want to remind you that we do not have enough Patriot systems that can protect the skies over Ukraine from this type of weaponry,” Ignat said, addressing the Ukrainians. “It is an extremely fast and very precise aeroballistic missile,” added the military.
A food warehouse was torched by a missile in the Black Sea city of Odessa, where authorities said three people were injured.
Kiyv reports that Moscow was also making a final push to try to capture the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut in order to present President Vladimir Putin with what would be his only prize for Russia’s costly winter offensive, in time for Victory Day. .
Moscow is gearing up for a Victory Day parade on Tuesday, the most important day on the calendar for Putin, who uses the 1945 Soviet victory over Nazi Germany to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
In a further break with Moscow, Ukraine celebrated Victory Day on Monday, instead of Tuesday, in line with the practice of its Western allies. President Volodimir Zelensky said that he had signed a decree to officially change the date.
“Remembering the heroism of millions of Ukrainians in that war against Nazism, we see the same heroism in the actions of our soldiers today,” said Zelensky, who addressed the nation from a hill overlooking Kiyv. “Unfortunately, the evil has returned. Just as the evil struck our towns and villages then, it does now. Just as it killed our people then, it does now,” he said. “And all the old evil that modern Russia is bringing back will be defeated, just as Nazism was defeated.”
Russia has canceled or scaled back some of the large military parades that normally accompany Victory Day. Western countries say this decision stems partly from security concerns and partly because Moscow has lost much military equipment in a largely unsuccessful winter offensive in Ukraine that has seen the most intense ground combat in Europe since World War II.
Ukraine, which drove Russian forces from the outskirts of the capital last year and recaptured substantial territory, has kept its troops on the defensive for the past six months but is preparing a massive counteroffensive in the coming weeks.
Russia’s costly winter campaign captured almost no ground, apart from around the small eastern town of Bakhmut. The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who visited the front line, said on Sunday that the Russians “still hope to capture the city by May 9. Our task is to prevent it.”