Pentagon says Russian hypersonic missiles ‘do not change the rules of the game’

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday that the hypersonic missiles that Russia says it used to destroy military targets in Ukraine are “not a game changer” in the face of Ukrainian military resistance.

“I don’t see them (weapons) changing the rules of the game,” Austin told US television channel CBS, while he refused to “confirm or deny” Moscow’s use of this type of missile.

On Sunday, Russia claimed, for the second day in a row, that it had used hypersonic missiles in Ukraine. If this shot is proven, it will be the first known use in real combat conditions of this system first tested in 2018.

With such weapons, Lloyd Austin said, Russia was “trying to regain momentum” in the conflict in which its army was bogged down in the quagmire.

“We have seen (the Russians) deliberately targeting cities and civilians in recent weeks … because the attack is limited,” the US secretary said.

He added that Russian forces “are not effective in their movements on the ground, they are basically confined” against Ukrainian fighters “who are fighting valiantly and remain determined to defend their country.”

The Pentagon chief argued that Vladimir Putin “sent his troops into the shredder,” saying the Ukrainians were “very effective thanks to the weapons we gave them,” such as anti-tank and anti-tank defense systems.

Lloyd Austin also warned Russia against the use of chemical or biological weapons in the conflict.

There will then be an “important reaction not only from the United States, but also from the international community,” he said.

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Moscow, which accuses Washington and Kiev of running laboratories aimed at producing internationally banned biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine, wants “to make up an excuse so that if they (the Russians) do something on the battlefield, they can blame someone else, the Ukrainians, us, NATO” .

The Pentagon chief also refused to confirm the presence of mercenaries alongside Russian forces.

“We haven’t seen any mercenaries on the battlefield as far as I know,” the retired general said.

According to a Syrian NGO, more than 40,000 fighters from the Syrian army and allied militias have registered to fight with Russia in Ukraine.

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