Ukraine claims Russia used an advanced hypersonic missile for the first time in the latest strike

Ukraine claims to have evidence that Russia launched an advanced missile Hypersonic missile – which experts say is almost impossible to bring down – for the first time in a long time A two-year-old war.

The government-run Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise said in a post on the Telegram app that the wreckage was later recovered. February 7 attack He pointed out in the Ukrainian capital the Russian army’s use of the Zircon cruise missile, which has hypersonic speeds.

The institute, part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, said that “markings on fragments and fragments, identification of components and parts, and characteristics of the relevant weapon type” indicate the first-ever use of zircon in combat.

The Telegram post was accompanied by a video clip showing dozens of pieces of debris believed to be from the new missile.

Ukrainian authorities reported that four people were killed and 38 others injured in Kiev during the February 7 attacks, but no direct casualties were attributed to the alleged Zircon missile.

Firefighters extinguish a fire at an apartment building in the Holosievsky district of Kiev, Ukraine, on February 7, 2024, after it was hit by falling Russian missile debris following a Russian raid.  - Serhiy Loparev/ukrinform/norphoto/ReutersFirefighters extinguish a fire at an apartment building in the Holosievsky district of Kiev, Ukraine, on February 7, 2024, after it was hit by falling Russian missile debris following a Russian raid.  - Serhiy Loparev/ukrinform/norphoto/Reuters

Firefighters extinguish a fire at an apartment building in the Holosievsky district of Kiev, Ukraine, on February 7, 2024, after it was hit by falling Russian missile debris following a Russian raid. – Serhiy Loparev/ukrinform/norphoto/Reuters

The missile’s launch pad was also not mentioned, although previous reports in Russian state media say so Deployed on a warship.

Experts say that Zircon, if it lives up to what the Russian government says it is, is a formidable weapon.

Its hypersonic speed makes it invulnerable to even the best Western missile defenses, such as Patriot, according to the US-based Missile Defense Alliance (MDAA).

The coalition says its speed has reached Mach 8, or approximately 9,900 kilometers per hour (6,138 mph). Hyperspeed is defined as any speed above Mach 5 (3,836 mph).

“If this information is accurate, the Zircon missile would be the fastest in the world, making it nearly impossible to defend against due to its speed alone,” the coalition says on its website.

The site also points to the missile’s plasma cloud as another “valuable” feature.

“During flight, the missile is completely covered by a plasma cloud that absorbs any radio frequency radiation and makes the missile invisible to radars. This allows the missile to remain undetected on its way to the target.

Additionally, the MDAA says the Zircon missile is a “hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile” with a range of 500 to 1,000 kilometers (310 to 620 miles).

When the Russian Navy’s frigate Admiral Gorshkov set out on a combat mission last January, President Vladimir Putin bragged about the Zircon missiles the ship was carrying.

“It has no equal in any country in the world,” Putin said, according to a report by the state media agency TASS. He added: “I am sure that such powerful weapons will reliably protect Russia from possible external threats and will help ensure the national interests of our country.”

If Russia introduces the new weapon into the conflict, it could mean trouble for Ukraine’s air defense, which is already straining to fend off Moscow’s air attacks.

For example, in the February 7 attack in which Zircon was allegedly used, three Iskander ballistic missiles and four Kh-22 cruise missiles launched by Russian forces evaded attempts to shoot them down, data from the Ukrainian Air Force shows.

Although air defenses have shot down Iskander missiles in the past, Ukraine is believed to have failed to intercept a single Kh-22 during nearly two years of war. Speaking in December, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ahnat said Russia had launched nearly 300 Kh-22 missiles so far in the war.

Ukrainian air defenses had some success during the February 7 attack, shooting down 26 of 29 Kh-101, Kh-555, and Kh-55 cruise missiles, all three Kalibr cruise missiles, and 15 of 20 Shahed drones launched by Russia. . But those are less advanced than zircons.

However, analysts caution against exaggerating the impact that the use of zircon could have on the war as a whole.

Since it is a new – and expensive – technology, the question is: How much of this technology has Russia produced?

“A key consideration is Russia’s ability to produce and operate a capability like Zircon on a large scale, especially since the program will compete for financial and other resources with priorities such as rebuilding Russia’s ground forces,” says Siddharth Kaushal, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. In London, he wrote last year after the publication of Admiral Gorshkov with the Zircon on board.

CNN’s Svetlana Vlasova, Maria Knight, Andrew Carey and Jack Jay contributed to this report.

For more CNN news and newsletters, create an account at CNN.com

(Tags for translation) Russian missile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *