Ukraine war: Kiev says it shot down Russian hypersonic missile

  • Hugo Bachega in Kiev and Catherine Armstrong in London
  • BBC news

image caption,

Video of the explosion goes viral on social media

Ukraine said it had shot down a hypersonic missile in a “very dense” barrage fired toward Kiev on Tuesday.

Kiev said its air defenses had intercepted six Kinzhar hypersonic missiles that Russia claimed could overcome all existing air defense systems.

Officials said they were one of 18 missiles of different types that were fired into the city in a short period of time.

Russia denied the Kinzhal plane was intercepted and said it destroyed the US-supplied Patriot air defense system.

Ukraine declined to comment. The BBC is unable to independently verify either country’s claims.

Russia stepped up its airstrike campaign in recent weeks ahead of the expected Ukrainian offensive, and has carried out eight strikes on the Ukrainian capital so far this month.

On Tuesday night, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Russia had not launched so many Kinzhal missiles that Kiev claimed to have shot them down.

But if Ukraine’s allegations are true, Russia will be unhappy that its missile fleet’s top-of-the-line weapons are now ready to intercept. This is largely due to the emergence of modern Western defense systems, including the Patriot.

Russia continues to insist that a missile capable of flying over 11,000 kilometers (7,000 miles) per hour cannot be destroyed by any of the world’s air defense systems.

The Kinzhal, or “Dagger”, is an air-launched ballistic missile. Most ballistic missiles reach hypersonic speeds (five times the speed of sound, just over 6,000 kilometers per hour) at some point in flight.

Kiev announced last week that it shot down a Kinzhal for the first time.

In recent days, President Volodymyr Zelensky has been on a tour of Europe and has been pledged billions of dollars worth of military equipment by Western allies, including British Prime Minister Rishi Snack and French President Emmanuel Macron.

image source, Ukrainian State Emergency Service

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Ukraine’s capital Kiev has been targeted by Russia eight times so far this month

Footage from Tuesday’s barrage showed air defenses destroying targets over the city.

Ukrainian military commander Valery Zardini said Russia had attacked Kiev from the north, south and east, using 18 air-, sea- and ground-based missiles.

The head of the military administration of the Ukrainian capital, Serhiy Popko, described the barrage as “the largest number of attack missiles in the shortest period of time.”

General Zardini said it also included nine Kalibr cruise missiles and three ground-based missiles launched from Black Sea vessels.

Residents were warned to stay away from their windows on Tuesday as debris from intercepted missiles fell from the sky.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said rocket debris fell into the city’s central district, including the zoo. No animals or workers were injured.

Ksenia, who lives in Kiev, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the couple heard “a series of very loud explosions” above the building while they were asleep. She compared the intensity of the attacks to Star Wars movies and action video games.

He also said that thanks to the assistance of international allies, Ukraine is now able to track and destroy large-caliber missiles.

“I’m very relieved to know that Kiev is now defending such a strong team.”

Another resident, Evgen Petrov, said Tuesday’s attack was the first time his home had been shaken by the force of the raid since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia resumed its offensive against Kiev earlier this month after a lull of more than 50 days. Ukrainian officials believe the Russian government’s strategy is to exhaust its air defense system, which has been very successful at intercepting most of the missiles and drones it launches.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, thousands of civilians and combatants have been killed or wounded, cities and towns have been ravaged by fighting, and 8.2 million Ukrainians have been registered as refugees in Europe, of which 2.8 million In Russia, according to data provided to the newspaper, the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Additional report by BBC weapons analyst Chris Partridge.

video caption,

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his army needs more equipment before counterattack

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