By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Russia has praised the effective performance of the hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in hitting high-value targets in what it has called “special military operation” in Ukraine which took effect since February.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Sunday that Moscow has deployed the missiles three times in Ukraine, hailing them as not comparable and as almost impossible to take down when in flight.
The Kinzhal missiles are part of an array of new hypersonic weapons President Vladimir Putin presented in 2018 in a bellicose speech in which he said they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.
Shoigu, speaking on state television broadcast on Rossiya 1 said, “We have deployed it three times during the special military operation,” HD) he added, “And three times it showed brilliant characteristics.”
Russia first used the Kinzhal system in Ukraine about a month after sending tens of thousands of troops into its neighbour’s territory, striking a large weapons depot in Ukraine’s western Ivano-Frankivsk region.
This week, Russia’s defence ministry said three MiG-31E warplanes equipped with Kinzhal missiles had been relocated to the Kaliningrad region, a Russian Baltic coast exclave located between NATO and European Union members Poland and Lithuania.
On Russia’s Navy Day late last month, Putin announced that the navy would receive what he called “formidable” hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles in coming months. The missiles can travel at nine times the speed of sound, outrunning air defences.