Russian Defense Ministry says it 'disabled' 2,119 objects of Ukraine's military infrastructure

Ministry voices concern about situation with foreigners in Ukraine.

Russian Defense Ministry says it 'disabled' 2,119 objects of Ukraine's military infrastructure

The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday more than 2,100 objects of Ukraine's military infrastructure were hit since the beginning of its special military operation.

Five radar stations and two Buk M-1air defense systems were disabled March 5, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a news conference in Moscow.

In addition, four Su-27 fighter jets were downed in an air battle near Zhitomir, one Su-25 fighter jet, a Mi-8 helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle, Bayraktar, were shot down by air defense, he said.

"In total, since the beginning of the operation, 2,119 objects of the military infrastructure of Ukraine were hit. Among them 74 control and communication centers, 108 S-300, Buk M-1 and Osa air defense systems, 68 radar stations," said Konashenkov.

Konashenkov said 69 aircraft were destroyed on the ground and 21 aircraft in the air, 748 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 76 multiple rocket launchers, 274 field artillery and mortars, 532 units of special military vehicles, as well as 59 unmanned aerial vehicles were disabled.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Moscow time, at the request of the Ukrainian side, the Russian side halted all military actions near Mariupol and Volnovakha to evacuate civilians, he said.

However, not one single person was able to leave settlements through humanitarian corridors, according to Konashenkov, because "the nationalists' formations detain people as a human shield."

"Nationalist battalions took advantage of the cease-fire to regroup and strengthen their positions.

"Due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence the nationalists or prolong the cease-fire, offensive actions have been resumed from 18 o'clock Moscow time," he noted.

In a separate statement, Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintzev, head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, said “nationalists in Ukraine” are keeping about 5,000 foreigners as hostages.

"The militants of the nationalist battalions continue to hold hostage as a ‘human shield’ about five thousand foreigners, including, in Kharkiv -- up to 1,500 students from India, up to 200 citizens of Jordan, 40 citizens of Egypt, 15 citizens of Vietnam.

"There are 576 citizens from India, 159 citizens of Tanzania, 121 citizens of China, 100 students from Ghana, 60 citizens of Egypt, 45 citizens of Jordan, 16 students from Pakistan, 15 citizens of Tunisia and 14 citizens of Zambia in (the city of) Sumy," he said.

Mizintsev voiced concern about the fate of the foreigners, taking into account that units of the so-called Ukraine's "territorial defense" use the ideology, symbolism and greetings of Nazi Germany.

He said nationalists battered a group of 20 Pakistani students in Sudja when they tried to leave the settlement.

"Nationalist activists are preventing the evacuation of foreigners, especially those with dark skin color, as well as citizens of India, Israel, Indonesia, Pakistan and Egypt.

"Ukrainian nationalist groups are planning to kill nine students from Iraq who are being held in a dormitory at Sumy State University and plan to kill them, blaming Russia for this," said Mizintsev.

He called on the West and international organizations to exercise influence on Kyiv to make the Ukrainian military release foreigners and civilians from the war zone and vowed that Russia will provide necessary conditions.

The Russia-Ukraine war began Feb. 24 and has been met by outrage from the international community, with the EU, UK, and US implementing a range of economic sanctions on Moscow.