Kinzhal missile warhead captured by Ukrainian forces in photo posted on January 5. Photo: SES

Ukrainian officials recorded that Russia has used hypersonic missiles 16 times to attack the capital Kiev since the beginning of the year until now.

On April 1, the Kiev military command announced that it had counted more than 180 missile and drone strikes targeting the city in the first three months of this year.

Of these, the Russian military used Zircon hypersonic missiles 5 times and Kinzhal hypersonic missiles 11 times. Russia also launched four other types of missiles targeting Kiev, including Kalibr cruise missiles, Kh-69 cruise missiles, Iskander-M ballistic missiles and Kh-101 cruise missiles.

Zircon is one of the hypersonic weapons developed by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin first revealed the Zircon missile in a speech in February 2019, saying this weapon can attack targets at sea and on the ground within a range of 1,000 km at a speed of more than 11,000 km/h, 9 times faster than sound.

President Putin on February 29 confirmed that Russia used Zircon missiles on the Ukrainian battlefield but did not reveal the target of the raid.

On March 25, the Ukrainian Air Force announced that it had shot down a ballistic missile launched by Russia from the Crimean peninsula aimed at the capital, Kyiv. The Ukrainian military’s electronic portal later said the two intercepted projectiles were Zircon hypersonic missiles and posted photos of missile fragments shot down in the raid.

Illia Yevlash, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Air Force, confirmed that the country can use the Patriot and SAMP/T air defense systems to shoot down Zircon missiles.

The Kinzhal hypersonic missile was announced by Russia in March 2018, with a range of 2,000 km and a maximum speed of up to Mach 10 (about 12,000 km/h), 10 times the speed of sound. Kinzhal can carry conventional high-explosive warheads or nuclear warheads with a destructive power of 5-50 kilotons.

The Russian corvette launched a Zircon missile in a test in May 2022. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

The Russian corvette launched a Zircon missile in a test in May 2022. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

Military analysts believe that hypersonic weapons will significantly change the battlefield situation. It can hit the target before the enemy’s air defense system can react, enough to threaten targets that are fortified and located deep in the enemy’s control zone.

Russian President Putin once praised Kinzhal as an “invincible” missile model, but Ukrainian officials have repeatedly claimed to have shot down this missile.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat said on January 1 that the Patriot air defense system transferred by the West had helped them shoot down 15 Russian Kinzhal missiles since the beginning of the war.