Putin sends off frigate armed with new hypersonic cruise missile

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MOSCOW, Jan 4 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles.

In a video conference with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Igor Krokhmal, commander of the frigate named “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov”, Putin said the ship was armed with Zircon hypersonic weapons.

“This time the ship is equipped with the latest hypersonic missile system – “Zircon” – which has no analogues,” Putin said. “This is a hypersonic sea–based system.”

Shoigu said the Gorshkov would sail to the Atlantic and Indian oceans and to the Mediterranean Sea.

In Other Developments

*Russia’s defence ministry blamed the illegal use of mobile phones for a deadly Ukrainian missile strike that killed 89 servicemen, raising the reported death toll significantly.

DIPLOMACY

* Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to talk to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

* French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed that Ukraine “needs our support more than ever”. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also said Ukraine can count on long-term support.

FIGHTING

* Russia’s defence ministry said that 89 servicemen were killed in the Ukrainian attack on Makiivka in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region.

* The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces on Wednesday said Russia had launched seven missile strikes, 18 air strikes and more than 85 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems in the past 24 hours on civilian infrastructure in three cities, Kramatorsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

* A little known patriotic group claiming to support widows of Russian soldiers has called on President Vladimir Putin to order a large-scale mobilisation of millions of men and to close the borders.

* Combing the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, volunteers have made it their mission to search for bodies of fallen soldiers and return them to families.

The Russian Navy Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov arrives to the port of Havana for an official visit, in Havana, Cuba. EPA-EFE/ERNESTO MASTRASCUSA

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