Russia readies hypersonic missile for launch in fresh nuclear threat

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By Euronews
Russia's top military commander in Ukraine, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, left, and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russia's top military commander in Ukraine, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, left, and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin   -   Copyright  AP Photo

 Russia's Ministry of Defence has reported that a regiment with an intercontinental hypersonic "Avangard" missile system has entered combat duty in the Orenburg region.

In a statement, it said that the missile system will increase the combat capabilities of the Strategic Missile Forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the Avangard as "invincible" in 2018 and claims the weapon can hit any target on Earth in 30 minutes and at 27 times the speed of sound.

The announcement follows Putin's meeting with his military commanders on Friday and a barrage of Russian missile strikes across a number of Ukrainian cities.

Russia's Defence Ministry claims the 76 attacks, the majority of which were intercepted by Ukraine's air forces, prevented the delivery of foreign weapons to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, emergency crews pulled the body of a toddler from the rubble in a pre-dawn search on Saturday for survivors of a Russian missile attack that tore through an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih.

In all, authorities said that four people were killed in the strike, and 13 were injured, four of them were children.

 Russian forces continued their strikes overnight, damaging power lines and houses in Nikopol, Marhanets and Chervonohryhorivka, which are across the Dnieper River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

By Saturday morning, Ukraine’s military leadership said Russian forces had fired another score of missiles since the barrage a day earlier. It did not say how many of those might have been stopped by the air defences.

Friday's onslaught, which pummeled many parts of central, eastern and southern Ukraine, constituted one of the biggest assaults on the capital, Kyiv, since Russia began the war by attacking Ukraine on February 24.

Kyiv was targeted by approximately 40 missiles on Friday, authorities said, but nearly all of them were intercepted by Ukraine's military.