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Putin responds to US delivery of ATACMS missiles

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Peking. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the delivery of US ATACMS missiles to Ukraine as an “additional threat” to defend against his war of aggression. However, Russia will also defend against these missiles, Putin said on Russian state television at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. The US would have made a mistake by allowing itself to be drawn deeper into the conflict in Ukraine. However, this will not change the situation on the 1,500 km long front, as Russia can deter further attacks with ATACMS missiles. “There is nothing good for Ukraine in this sense,” Putin said. The use of new weapons “prolongs the agony.”

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+++ All developments of the war against Ukraine on the live blog +++

Kiev confirmed on Tuesday that it had received missiles from the US and had successfully used them against Russian military bases. Putin: “First, of course it is harmful; This creates an additional threat. Second, we can certainly prevent these attacks.” At the same time, the Kremlin leader emphasized: “But the most important thing is that this cannot fundamentally change the situation as a whole.”

Putin spoke after the summit about China’s international infrastructure project, the “New Silk Road,” which he had already arrived on Tuesday.

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Rockets loaded with cluster bombs

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, said Washington’s decision to provide Kiev with ATACMS missiles was “irresponsible” and a “serious mistake” that did not change the outcome of the war. However, observers believe that the military tactical missile system will force Russia to relocate its aircraft and ammunition depots.

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The ATACMS range offered to Ukraine is less than 300 kilometers maximum. They are armed with cluster munitions that open up in the air when fired, so-called hundreds of bombs instead of a large single warhead. Ukraine has long insisted on the delivery of such missiles. The US government only agreed in September after much hesitation.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Putin announced permanent fighter jet patrols in the Black Sea. The Air Force will fly MiG-31s ​​over neutral waters. The jets are to be equipped with Kinsal (Dakar) hypersonic missiles.

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Putin sees a viable option for negotiation

On the war in Ukraine, Putin says he recognizes the potential option of negotiating. He sees Western politicians avoiding saying they want to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. “This is a real change,” Putin said. At the same time, he insisted that Ukraine should first cancel the document prohibiting such peace talks with Russia.

Putin also met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for a lengthy conversation in Beijing on Tuesday, his first one-on-one meeting with an EU head of government this year. He again dismissed criticism within the EU that Orban was friendly with Moscow. Orban is not a pro-Russian, but pro-Hungarian politician “who has the courage to defend the interests of his people.” Hungary continues to buy large quantities of Russian gas.

RND/dpa/AP

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