Russia could soon be deploying hypersonic missiles in its war against Ukraine, capable of breaching NATO Naval defences. Vladimir Putin could be in position to deploy hundreds of Zircon hypersonic missiles.
The cruise missile has a lift-generating centre body.
It can travel at a speed of Mach 8–Mach 9 (6,090–6,851 mph; 9,800–11,025 km/h; 2.7223–3.0626 km/s).
At this speed, the missile would be invisible to radar systems.
The director of the Crisis Research Institute, Mark Almond, told Newsweek that the Zirkon missiles are ”part of Putin’s saber-rattling to distract the West from his ongoing operations in south-east Ukraine”.
He added: “That said, the West is inhibited by Putin’s silent nuclear blackmail from going too far in helping Ukraine. The Kremlin wants to win a limited war against the West inside Ukraine and the West wants to defeat Russia in a limited war inside Ukraine.”
It comes as Russian soldiers are struggling to advance on the front in Ukraine.
Unauthorised use of cell phones by Russian soldiers led to a deadly Ukrainian rocket attack on the facility where they were stationed, according to the Russian military.
Gen. Lt. Sergei Sevryukov said in a statement late Tuesday that phone signals allowed Kyiv’s forces to “determine the coordinates of the location of military personnel” and launch a strike.
The attack, one of the deadliest on the Kremlin’s forces since the start of the war over 10 months ago, occurred one minute into the new year, according to Sevryukov.
READ MORE: Grieving Dad makes plea to pool owners after son, 3, drowned
“Given the extent of the damage, there is a realistic possibility that ammunition was being stored near to troop accommodation, which detonated during the strike, creating secondary explosions,” the UK Defence Ministry said in a Twitter post.
In the same post, the ministry said that the building struck by Ukrainian missiles was little more than 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) from the front line near Avdiivka, within “one of the most contested areas of the conflict.” Both Makiivka and Avdiivka, a key target of Russia’s grinding offensive in the Donetsk region, lie on the outskirts of its namesake capital.
“The Russian military has a record of unsafe ammunition storage from well before the current war, but this incident highlights how unprofessional practices contribute to Russia’s high casualty rate,” the update added.