Putin visits operation's command post

2023-08-21 10:06:34China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the command post of its special military operation and other top military brass, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

The state news agency TASS quoted the Kremlin as saying that Putin held a meeting at the headquarters of the special military operation group in the southern Russian city Rostov-on-Don.

The Kremlin said Putin, Russia's supreme commander-in-chief, listened to reports from Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of the Army in charge of Moscow's operation in Ukraine, and other top military commanders and officers.

The Kremlin provided no further details of the meeting and it wasn't clear when the meeting took place. Videos published by the RIA state news agency showed Gerasimov greeting Putin at what appeared to be night and leading him into a building after a handshake.

TASS said Putin has made repeated visits to the command post of the military operation in Rostov-on-Don. In particular, he held a meeting here and heard the military's reports in the middle of March, at the same time that he visited Mariupol.

Rostov-on-Don, a city just 100 kilometers from Ukraine's border, is home to the Russian southern military district command whose army is fighting in Ukraine.

With Ukraine's counteroffensive struggling to break through entrenched Russian lines and Moscow's stretched military resources and dissent in the ranks, both sides have measured recent successes by taking control of border villages.

The governor of Russia's Kursk Region Roman Starovoit said on Sunday that a Ukrainian drone crashed into the rooftop of a railway station, setting off a fire, leaving five people with minor injuries because of the glass shards. The details of the incident were being verified, he said.

At the same time on Sunday morning, TASS reported that Moscow's Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports have suspended flight arrivals and departures. It's not clear whether the closure of the capital's airports was related to the drone attack. According to Flightradar24, a real-time flight tracker, planes have been rerouted to Sheremetyevo, another Moscow airport.

The new round of drone attacks came as Ukrainian pilots started joint training on F-16 fighter jets with the United States' instructors in Ukraine.

"The F-16 aircraft was in Ukraine… A day ago, two of my pilots were tested by US instructors," Ukraine's Air Force Commander Oleksandr Oleshchuk told Ukrainian state TV.

Oleshchuk said while the total training period was 32 months, "it was decided that for this class of pilots, they will be able to master the F-16 aircraft in four months".

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov also said training on the jets had begun, saying in a separate interview on Saturday that Ukrainian engineers and technicians were training alongside the pilots.

Reznikov said he would not disclose how long the training would last, but noted that "a minimal term of training is six months".


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