Russian state TV says invasion of Ukraine ‘has already turned into World War III’

A Russian state TV host has said the reason President Vladimir Putin’s “special operation” in Ukraine is taking so long is because the country has entered World War III against NATO.

The remarks by one of Russia’s most prominent TV presenters follow a symbolic crushing defeat for Moscow with the sinking of its Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva.

Presenter Olga Skabeyeva implored viewers of Rossiya 1 to “recognise” that the country was now “struggling against the NATO infrastructure, if not against NATO itself”.

She said: “Many say ‘couldn’t this be done faster? Everyone wants it to happen faster. Everyone would like a definitive victory. Everyone wants all the objectives set to be implemented.

“Otherwise, on the whole, it is impossible to accept the special operation that we have launched – Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.

The presenter continued: “We can safely call what he escalated into World War III. It is absolutely certain.

“Right now, we are definitely fighting against NATO’s infrastructure, if not against NATO itself. We have to recognize it. »

It comes as the 610ft flagship Moskva sank on Thursday while being towed to port, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Moskva sails in the Bosphorus, en route to the Black Sea, in July 2021

(Reuters)

Russian defense officials said ammunition on board the ship exploded in an unexplained fire, but Ukraine claimed it hit the vessel with its Neptune missiles.

Moscow denied there was an attack on the warship and said its guided missile launchers were intact.

The loss of the Moskva has dealt another blow to the Russian offensive as it prepares for a new assault in the eastern Donbass region that is expected to define the outcome of the conflict.

In his Thursday night address, President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainians they should be proud to have survived 50 days under Russian siege as the invaders “gave us a maximum of five”.

Listing the means by which Ukraine defended itself against the onslaught, Zelensky mentioned “those that showed that Russian warships can get away, even if it’s on the bottom” of the sea. was his only reference to the Moskva.

Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi leave the Moskva at the Black Sea port of Sochi, August 2014

(via Reuters)

Elsewhere, the Kremlin today claimed its forces hit a military target on the outskirts of kyiv overnight with cruise missiles, before promising to unleash more strikes on the Ukrainian capital in response to its attacks on targets Russians.

Powerful explosions were reportedly heard in kyiv following Moscow’s announcement of the fate of the Moskva.

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

(Images from the Press Association)

The Defense Ministry statement claimed its nightly missile strikes on Kyiv hit the ‘Vizar’ factory on the outskirts of the city, which it said manufactured and repaired missiles, including anti-ship missiles .

“The number and scale of missile strikes on targets in Kyiv will increase in response to any terrorist attacks or acts of sabotage on Russian territory by the nationalist regime in Kyiv,” the ministry added.

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