On April 4, Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation General of the Army Sergei Shoigu held the monthly special teleconference with the leadership of the Russian Armed Forces. In his speech, Russian Defence Minister commented on the progress of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, attempts of the NATO member states to escalate the military conflict an Russian response measure.
The Russian Armed Forces continue to liberate Donbass. According to Sergey Shoigu, Russian combat operations in Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), Avdeevka, Liman, and Kupyansk directions are developing steadily. Amid the ongoing ground operations, Russian forces continue high-precision strikes at Ukrainian military infrastructure.
Russian Defence minister declared that Russian strikes disrupted the production of several types of weapons, as well as the supply of ammunition and fuel to Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). At the same time, Russian forces are destroying foreign weapons and military equipment both in combat positions on the Ukrainian front lines and during their transportation.
Since the beginning of this year alone, the following foreign artillery systems were destroyed:
- 59 M-777 artillery systems,
- 13 Paladin self-propelled artillery systems,
- 14 US-made HIMARS launchers,
- 30 self-propelled artillery systems from Poland, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic.
In their turn, the US and its allies have increased their military support for Ukraine.
“It is stated that this year alone they are ready to supply more than 200 Western-made tanks, more than 400 modern armoured fighting vehicles. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are being supplied with long-range weapons, including rockets with an extended range of up to 150 km. The potential transfer of F-16 tactical fighter planes and ATACMS tactical missiles with a firing range of up to 300 km to Kiev is under consideration,” Sergey Shoigu said.
At the same time, NATO is speeding up combat and reconnaissance training exercises close to the borders of Russia and Belarus in an effort to increase the combat readiness of their Joint Armed Forces. Moreover, Finland became a member of NATO.
“Obviously, all of this raises the possibility of a significant expansion of the conflict, but it will have no impact on how the results of the special operation. Under these conditions, we are taking retaliatory measures, defending the security of the Union State (with Belarus),” the Russian Defense Minister said.
The Russian Iskander-M tactical missile system was handed over to the Armed Forces of Belarus. It can use both conventional and nuclear missiles, Russian Defense Minister said. According to him, since April 3, training of Belarusian servicemen begun at one of the Russian training grounds.
Some of the Belarusian assault aircraft have already gained the ability to strike enemy targets with nuclear weapons, Shoigu added.
The Defence Minister concluded that the Russian Armed Forces will continue to carry out the missions within the special military operation.