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Russia says 3 MiG warplanes with hypersonic missiles moved to Kaliningrad region

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, Reuters
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Russian Defence MinistryRussia says 3 MiG warplanes with hypersonic missiles moved to Kaliningrad region

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Thursday (August 18) three MiG-31E warplanes equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles have been relocated to its Kaliningrad region for a round-the-clock duty. Kaliningrad, a Russian Baltic coast exclave is located between NATO and European Union members Poland and Lithuania.

According to Russian Ministry of Defence, the three MiG-31 fighters with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles arrived at the Chkalovsk airbase in Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad as part of "additional measures of strategic deterrence".

Kaliningrad, a Russian Baltic coast exclave located between NATO and European Union members Poland and Lithuania, became a flashpoint after Lithuania moved to limit goods transit to the region through its territory, with Russia promising retaliation.

Politico wrote in June, quoting Western military planners, that in case of confrontation between Russia and NATO, "the 'Suwałki Gap' would likely be the first point of contact".

Asked at a press conference in June about the Suwałki Gap, dubbed "the most dangerous place on Earth" by Politico, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that it was "sufficiently protected" both by allied and Polish armed forces.

The Suwałki Gap is an approx. 100-kilometres-long border area between Poland and Lithuania, which is squeezed between the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to the west, and Belarus to the east.

Błaszczak also said that the Suwałki Gap was the responsibility of the 16th Division, especially of the 15th Mechanised Brigade, "which is among the best Polish Army units in terms of experience in facilitating interoperability with allied forces".

The strategic importance of the corridor is that it is the only land passage between the Baltic States and Poland, and consequently the rest of European their NATO allies.

Tensions in the region have risen since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine six months ago in what it calls a "special military operation".

Russian MIG-31 carrying a Kinzhal hypersonic

Russian MIGs violated Finnish airspace

Earlier on Thursday, Finland's Defence Ministry said that two Russian MiG-31 jets were suspected of violating its airspace near the city of Porvoo, on the Gulf of Finland 150 km (90 miles) from Russia.

The suspected violation happened at 0640 GMT and the jets were westbound, communications chief Kristian Vakkuri told Reuters, adding the aircraft were in Finnish airspace for two minutes.

"The depth of the suspected violation into Finnish airspace was one kilometre," he said, but would not elaborate on whether the planes were escorted out.

The Finnish airforce identified the planes and the Border Guard had already launched an investigation into the violation, the ministry statement added.

Europe's largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, UkraineRUSSIAN EMERGENCIES MINISTRY

Disaster looms as Russia threatens to shut down Zaporizhzhia plant

Russia said on Thursday it could shut down Europe's largest nuclear power plant after it came under shelling at the front lines in Ukraine, a move Kyiv said would increase the risk of a nuclear catastrophe there.

Moscow also rejected international calls for a demilitarised zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which it seized early in the war and which is still operated by Ukrainian engineers under Russian occupation.

The power station sits on the Russian-controlled south bank of a huge reservoir; Ukrainian forces hold the north bank. Recent days have seen several incidents of shelling at the plant, which both side blame on each other.

Ukraine also accuses Russia of using the plant as a shield for its forces to launch strikes across the reservoir on Ukrainian-held cities, which Russia denies.

Ukrainian state nuclear energy company Energoatom said shutting down the plant would increase the risk of "a radiation disaster at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe".

In a briefing, Igor Kirillov, head of Russia's radioactive, chemical and biological defence forces, said the plant's back-up support systems had been damaged as a result of shelling. He presented a slide, showing that in the event of an accident, radioactive material would cover Germany, Poland and Slovakia.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters

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