It has been called Russia’s superweapon – the Kinzal hypersonic long-range robot.
In Tuesday night’s Russian attacks on the capital Kiev, the Ukrainian military claims to have shot down six of them, something made possible by Western military aid.
Ten days ago, the Ukrainian Air Force announced that for the first time it had succeeded in neutralizing a Kh-47 Kinzhal, the Russian military’s most modern robot.
The weapon was first unveiled in 2018, as one of six new weapon systems. Russian President Vladimir Putin then claimed that no air defense in the world could shoot it down. He called the robot “the ideal weapon”.
Kinzhal means dagger. According to the Russian military, the robot has a range of up to 200 miles and will fly at a speed over ten times the speed of sound, which should make it difficult to hit.
But now Ukraine has received the American Patriot air defense system from several Western countries, and reportedly it is precisely what was used to shoot down the Kinzhal robots.
Ukraine’s mayor, Vitaly Klyuchko, recently showed off the first hypersonic robot that the country’s armed forces said it shot down. He then underlined the importance of the Ukrainian military receiving air defenses in order to protect the civilian population:
– This makes us happy because it makes us feel safer, he said.
“Most were shot down”
In the night’s attacks, Russia shot down a total of 18 robots, Kiev’s military administration claims that “the vast majority” were shot down.
Six of them were ballistic Kinzhal robots, which were launched from aircraft. Nine were cruise missiles fired from ships in the Black Sea, according to Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny. Three were shot from land.
On top of that, Russia attacked with Iranian model drones. No people are said to have been killed in the attacks. Russia claims a Kinzhal robot hit one of the Patriot batteries.
However, the information that Ukraine has succeeded in shooting down as many as six hypersonic robots over Kiev is questioned by some military experts.
– It is unlikely. Russia has only fired seven or eight such during the entire war, lieutenant colonel Johan Huovinen tells Swedish daily newspaper.