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Iran Press TV

Putin: Russian anti-aircraft forces 'cracking' enemy weapons 'like nuts'

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 04 June 2022 9:05 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has been conducting a military operation in Ukraine, hails the Russian military's battleground performance versus the forces of the ex-Soviet republic.

"Our anti-aircraft systems are crunching them (Ukrainian weapons) like nuts. Dozens have been destroyed," Putin said in an interview that was broadcast on Saturday, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

The Russian head of state's comments came in reference to a U.S. decision to send new arms to Ukraine, with Putin saying that his country's forces were easily coping and had already destroyed American-supplied weapons by the dozen.

He, however, said, in response to a different question, that the Russian military was coping generally well in the face of Ukraine's firepower.

The United States as well as Ukraine's other Western allies have been souping up Ukraine's war machine with millions of dollars in modern weaponry since February, when Russia began the "special military operation." Washington has, most recently, pledged to provide Ukraine with precision rocket systems that are supposed to enable it to strike Russian positions from a longer range.

According to Putin, the operation is aimed at "demilitarizing" the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine, which together form the Donbas region. In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine's Western-backed government.

Ordering the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at "defending people who for eight years were suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime."

According to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia has so far seized about 20 percent of his country's territory.

Ukraine: No point in talks until Russian forces pushed back

Also on Saturday, various Ukrainian officials vehemently rejected an earlier offer by French President Emanuel Macron to mediate a negotiated solution to the conflict. Macron also advised Kiev to refrain from "humiliating" Russia, a piece of advice that was likewise snubbed by the Ukrainian officials.

Spurning the French offer, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said such calls "could only humiliate France and every other country that calls for it."

He added, "Because it is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace
and save lives."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said, "...Until we receive weapons in their full amount, until we strengthen our positions, until we push them (Russia's forces) back as far as possible to the borders of Ukraine, there is no point in holding negotiations."

During recent weeks, Ukraine has been receiving more powerful weapons from the West. Among other things, the United States has said it will give Ukraine precision HIMARS rocket systems allowing it to hit Russian positions from a longer range.

"Our armed forces are ready to use [the new weapons]...and then I think we can initiate a new round of talks from a strengthened position," David Arakhamia, Ukrainian lawmaker and a member of the negotiation team, had also said on Friday.

Russia: Some Ukrainian units pulling out of Severodonetsk

Also on Saturday, Russian army said some Ukrainian military units were withdrawing from the key city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.

"Some units of the Ukrainian army, having suffered critical losses during fighting for Severodonetsk, are pulling out towards Lysychansk," Severodonetsk's twin city, which sits just across a river, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. It added however that some Ukrainian fighters remained in the city.

"The Ukrainian authorities, having realized that it was impossible to resist further and to hold on to the industrial zone of Severodonetsk, ordered a mixed tactical unit to mine the tanks containing nitrate and nitric acid in the Azot factory," the ministry said.

Russia's army claims the Ukrainian army seeks to contaminate the area and "delay" the Russian military operation.

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