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Russian Navy to get ‘unmatched’ hypersonic cruise missile Zircon soon, says Putin

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Zircon, the universal hypersonic cruise missile designed to destroy sea and ground targets, will be supplied to the Russian Armed Forces in the coming months, the country’s President Vladimir Putin has announced.

As it underwent several tests in the Barents Sea over the past year, Putin had promised that Zircon, which according to him is capable of reaching speeds of about Mach 9 and hitting targets at a distance of more than 1,000 km, would be put on combat duty soon.

Addressing the Main Naval Parade in St Petersburg on the occasion of Russia’s Navy Day, Putin said that Admiral Gorshkov, one of the most modern ships of its Northern Fleet, will be the first one to be equipped with the “unmatched” missiles which have “no obstacles”.

“The Admiral Gorshkov frigate will be the first to go on combat duty with this formidable weapon aboard. The area in which the ship equipped with Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles will carry out its duty will be selected based on Russia’s security interests,” said Putin.

The announcement was labelled as a “chilling threat” by a section of the media in the West.

“At this speed it would reach London in about five minutes,” said UK’s Daily Mirror.

It was on February 20, 2019 that the Russian President – during his annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly – informed about Zircon, the “promising innovation” also spelt as 3M22 Tsirkon, for the first time officially.

“It can be launched from water, from surface vessels and from submarines, including those that were developed and built for carrying Kalibr high-precision missiles, which means it comes at no additional cost for us,” he had said then.

As it moved ahead with its plan to equip submarines and surface ships with the Zircon complex, the flight tests of the hypersonic cruise missile continued even during Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. The Russian Defence Ministry released a video on May 28 which showed Zircon being fired from Gorshkov in the Barents Sea and hitting a target in the White Sea after travelling a distance of 1,000 km (625 miles).

“The flight of a hypersonic missile corresponded to the specified parameters,” the Russian Defence Ministry had commented after Zircon’s last test.

Analysts in New Delhi too have been closely watching the bigger picture unfold at a time when the defence ties between India and Russia continue to grow.

“The successful test launch of a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile shows that Russia continues to pioneer emerging defence technologies. Therefore, despite diversification, it is important for India to continue to develop defence partnerships with Moscow,” Professor Gulshan Sachdeva, Chairperson, Centre for European Studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, had told IndiaNarrative.com, last year.

Meanwhile, Putin said on Sunday that the current environment requires “commensurate, prompt, and decisive actions” from Moscow.

“First and foremost, these are our waters of the Arctic, the Black Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea, and the Baltic and Kuril Straits. We will ensure their protection rigorously and using all available tools,” he said at country’s the naval capital with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Nikolai Yevmenov also in attendance.

International News

Iran will restrict Internet access in country until calm is restored to streets

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 Iranian authorities said they will restrict Internet access in the country until calm is restored to the streets, as protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police rocked the Islamic Republic, media reported.

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in protest since the death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was apprehended in Tehran and taken to a ‘re-education centre’, apparently for not wearing her Hijab properly.

Since Friday, demonstrations have taken place in at least 40 cities nationwide, including the capital Tehran, with protesters demanding an end to violence and discrimination against women as well as an end to compulsory wearing of the Hijab, CNN reported.

Dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed in the resulting clashes with security forces.

Amnesty International said on Friday that at least 30 people, including four children, had died. According to state media the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), 35 people have died.

Authorities hope that by restricting the Internet, they can bring the protests under control, CNN reported.

Speaking to state broadcaster IRIB on Friday, Iran’s Minister of Communications Ahmad Vahidi said, “Until the riots end, the Internet will have limitations. To prevent riot organization through social media, we are obliged to create Internet limitations.”

Vahidi’s comments came after videos on social media showed scenes of public defiance, with women removing and burning their headscarves and demonstrators chanting such slogans as, “women, life, freedom.”

The move to further restrict the Internet also followed a call by the United Nations for an independent investigation into Amini’s death and for Iran’s security forces to refrain from using ‘disproportionate force’ on the protesters.

Amini’s death has now become a symbol of the violent oppression women have faced in Iran for decades, and her name has spread around the globe, with world leaders invoking her even at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City this week, CNN reported.

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International News

Israel no longer partner of Palestine in peace process: Abbas

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 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel has decided not to be a partner of Palestine in the peace process and that it will be treated as such.

“It is clear that Israel, which is ignoring the resolutions of international legitimacy, has decided not to be our partner in the peace process,” said Abbas in his speech to the General Debate of the UN General Assembly.

Israel has undermined the Oslo Accords, which it signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), he said, adding that it has and still is, through its premeditated and deliberate policies, destroying the two-state solution, he said.

“This proves unequivocally that Israel does not believe in peace. It believes in imposing a status quo by force and by aggression.

“Therefore, we do not have an Israeli partner anymore to whom we can talk. Israel is thus ending its contractual relationship with us,” said Abbas.

Palestine does not accept to remain the only party respecting the agreements it has signed with Israel in 1993. Those agreements are not valid anymore because of the persisting violations of Israel, he said.

“Therefore, it is our right, rather, our obligation to look for other means, to recover our rights and to achieve a peace built on justice, including the implementation of the resolutions that were adopted by our leadership, especially our parliament,” said Abbas.

The state of Palestine will also start the accession process to join other international organizations, he said.

Abbas called on the UN Secretary-General to work relentlessly to elaborate on an international plan to end the occupation of the land of Palestine to achieve peace, security and stability in the region, in line with UN resolutions and with the Arab Peace Initiative.

“The state of Palestine is looking forward to peace. Let us make this peace to live in security, stability, and prosperity for the benefit of our generation and all the people of the region,” he said.

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Crime

Dozens of Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

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 Dozens of Palestinian protesters were injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in several West Bank cities and villages.

Among the injured were three shot by live ammunition and nine by rubber bullets, while the others inhaled teargas fired by Israeli soldiers, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said in a statement on Friday.

In the village of Beita, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, two Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated metal gunshots, and 28 others inhaled teargas, said the statement, adding Israeli soldiers opened fire at the medical crews in the area, reports Xinhua news agency.

Since May 2021, the village of Beita has been witnessing daily clashes between the two sides over the establishment of Israeli settlement outpost near the village and the confiscation of Palestinian land.

Fierce clashes also broke out in the villages of Beit Dajan and Kafr Qaddum.

Israeli authorities have not commented on the incidents yet.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both claimed by the Palestinians, in the 1967 Middle East war, and has controlled them ever since.

Official Palestinian reports said more than 700,000 Israeli settlers live in 151 settlements established on Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem and the West Bank since 1967.

Tension in the West Bank has been mounting over the past few days after the Israeli army intensified its military actions against Palestinian militants and activists.

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