Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a military exhibition in Moscow. (Kremlin via Reuters)
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Updated 27 December 2019

Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service

  • ‘Strategic missiles with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service at 10 am Moscow time on December 27’

MOSCOW: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the country’s first Avangard hypersonic missiles have been put into service, an official statement said.

Russian officials say the missile is highly maneuverable and reached the speed of Mach 27, or roughly 33,000 kilometers per hour, during tests.

Mach 1 is a unit of measurement equivalent to the speed of sound.

“The first missile regiment equipped with latest strategic missiles with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service at 10 am Moscow time on December 27,” the defense ministry said, according to Russian news agencies.

No other details were immediately provided but defense officials have said that the first Avangard regiment is based in the Orenburg region in the Urals.

A defense ministry spokesman declined immediate comment.

Moscow has said it showed US arms inspectors the Avangard missiles in November.

Putin unveiled images of the new weapon during his state of the nation address in 2018, saying it would defeat all existing missile defense systems.

Russia has boasted of developing a number of “invincible” weapons that surpass existing systems and include Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

This week Putin said that Russia was no longer playing a game of catch-up with the West on weapons development.

“This is a unique situation in our modern history: they are playing catch-up with us,” he said.


Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

Updated 26 November 2020

Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen broke down on Thursday when visiting a mink farmer who lost his herd following the government’s order this month to cull all 17 million mink in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Frederiksen has faced opposition calls to resign and a vote of no confidence in parliament after an order by the government in early November, which it later admitted was illegal, to cull the country’s entire mink population.
The order was given after authorities found COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of mink farms, including a new strain of the virus, suspected of being able to compromise the efficacy of vaccines.
“We have two generations of really skilled mink farmers, father and son, who in a very, very short time have had their life’s work shattered,” Frederiksen told reporters after a meeting with a mink farmer and his son at their farm near Kolding in Western Denmark.
“It has been emotional for them, and... Sorry. It has for me too,” Frederiksen said with a wavering voice, pausing for breath in between words.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, has left the government reeling after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on Nov. 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.
Denmark has proposed a ban on all mink breeding in the country until 2022. Tage Pedersen, head of the Danish mink breeders’ association, said this month the industry, which employs around 6,000 people and exports fur pelts worth $800 million annually, is finished.
Denmark’s opposition says the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before compensation plans were in place for the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.