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Russia says has destroyed some 1,000 Ukrainian tanks, other armored vehicles

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Ukrainian tank rolls along a main road on March 8, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Russia’s armed forces have destroyed as many as 974 Ukrainian tanks and other armored vehicles during Moscow’s ongoing military operation in the ex-Soviet republic.

Russia's defense ministry announced the figure on Wednesday, the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency reported. The number is up from 897 reported on Tuesday.

The ministry said the forces had also downed 97 Ukrainian drones.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” aimed at “demilitarization” of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine’s Western-backed government.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”

The West has been piling on sanctions against Moscow, and accusing it of not sparing civilians.

On Tuesday, however, Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, said Russia would start observing a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine.

"Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation ... and in order to ensure the safety of civilians and foreign citizens, Russia will observe a regime of silence from 10 a.m. Moscow time (07:00 GMT) on March 9 and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors," Mizintsev said.

Information about corridors from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev as well as the cities of Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Mariupol would be sent to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, Mizintsev said.

Russia says it will halt the military operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow’s list of conditions.

Moscow has specified some of the demands as protection of its interests and nationals in Ukraine and prevention of the country’s accession to the Western military alliance of NATO.

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