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Russia Claims ‘Total Air Superiority’ Over Ukraine as Talks Loom

Igor Konashenkov. Russian Defense Ministry

Russia's Defense Ministry said Monday it has established “total air superiority” over Ukraine on the fifth day of President Vladimir Putin's deadly invasion of the neighboring country.  

The latest briefing claiming Russia’s military gains came as Russian and Ukrainian delegates were due to negotiate a ceasefire on the Ukraine-Belarus border at noon Monday. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said it has destroyed eight Buk M-1 air defense system vehicles, an S-300 missile system, three radars and five aircraft in the past 24 hours. 

"Since the beginning of the operation, Russian forces have hit 1,114 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities, including 31 command posts and communications centers, destroyed 314 tanks and other armored vehicles, 57 multiple launch rocket systems, 121 field artillery pieces and mortars,” he said.

Moscow and Kyiv have been racing to establish control over information in the fog of war, with the two sides making widely different claims of damages to the other side.

The Russian military spokesman has not specified the number of Russian troop losses since acknowledging casualties for the first time on Sunday. 

Ukraine’s military estimated some 5,300 Russian personnel losses without saying how many of them were killed or captured. 

“The enemy is demoralized and bears heavy losses,” Ukraine’s general staff of the armed forces said.  

It said 816 armored personnel carriers, 291 vehicles, 191 tanks, 58 warplanes and helicopters, as well as several dozen missile systems, ships and drones have been destroyed since Thursday. 

Konashenkov accused Kyiv’s authorities of using civilians as “human shields” and offered residents a “safe” exit via the Kyiv-Vasilkiv highway.

AFP contributed reporting. 

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