Ukraine is suspected of shooting down an ‘unstoppable’ Russian hypersonic missile, which would be a major blow to Vladimir Putin.
The air-launched missile was aimed at Kiev in the early hours of Thursday following a drone strike on the Kremlin, but is believed to have been shot down by Ukraine.
Ukrainian military experts say the wreckage at the site suggests the downed missile was Russia’s prized Kh-47 Kinzhal – or Dagger – hypersonic missile.
Experts say Kiev’s armed forces may have used a US-supplied Patriot system to shoot down the suspected Kinzhal.
The 7.5-meter, one-ton Kinzhal can carry conventional or nuclear warheads, and Russia has boasted that the missile is no match for Western defenses.
Ukrainian military experts say wreckage left at the site suggests the downed missile was Russia’s prized Kh-47 Kinzhal – or Dagger – hypersonic missile
Kyiv’s armed forces may have used a US-supplied Patriot system to shoot down suspected Kinzhal (pictured), experts said
The 7-meter, one-ton Kinzhal (file image) can carry conventional or nuclear warheads, and Russia has boasted that the missile is no match for Western defenses
If Ukrainian troops were to shoot down the Kinzhal, it would be the first time such a missile had been shot down.
The Specialist Defense Express website states: ‘One of the photos shows the nose cone, which resembles as closely as possible that of the Kh-47 Kinzhal missile with a complex shape of sharp diameter transitions.
‘The wreck shows that it has sustained penetration damage, which allows us to estimate the thickness of the material required to withstand the high temperature during acceleration to hypersonic speeds.
“It also indicates that the interception was quite effective, destroying the warhead in mid-air.
“This explains the powerful explosion heard by the people of Kiev on the night of May 4.”
The site said: “Outdated Soviet air defense systems are not capable of shooting down such a missile…
“In most cases, defeating such a target is only possible using the Patriot PAC-3 air defense system with a PAC-3 MSE kinetic interceptor.
“The hole in the wreckage … points to the possible use of such a missile.”
Russian war sites have strongly disputed the Ukrainian claim as “nonsense.”
“Ukrainian military experts are trying to portray the image of a water pipe as the wreckage of a missile,” someone said.
The Kinzhal can be fired from the MiG-31, Tu-160 or Tu-22M3M fighters and was used by Moscow in the war.
The Kinzhal has a range of 2000 kilometers and the conventional version was first deployed against Ukraine in March 2022.
Russian forces had launched a barrage of missiles at Kiev and other Ukrainian cities in the early hours of Thursday after two drones hit the Kremlin in an attack that Russia blames on Ukraine and the US.
If Ukrainian troops were to shoot down the Kinzhal (file image), it would be the first time such a missile was shot down
Pictured: A fireball rises over the Kremlin after an alleged drone strike by Ukraine on Wednesday
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted – without providing evidence – that the US was “undoubtedly” behind the strike he said was carried out by Ukraine – claims the White House dismissed as “lies.”
About 40 explosive-laden drones with “for Moscow” scribbled on them were fired at towns miles from the front line, with explosions heard in the capital Kyiv and the southern cities of Odessa and Zaporizhzhia.
“Decisions about such attacks are not made in Kiev, but in Washington,” an irate Peskov said. “Kiev only does what it has to do. Attempts to deny this, both in Kiev and Washington, are, of course, utterly ridiculous.’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied Russia’s claims that Ukraine was behind the drone attack on the Kremlin and British security officials believe the attack was a “false flag” operation by Russia to distract Kiev from its anticipated counter-offensive and gain support collect in the home country.
While Ukraine has demonstrated its ability to launch such attacks against the Kremlin, it is considered unlikely that Kiev would risk breaking international support by targeting the dictator directly.
A Russian false flag attack seemed a more likely explanation, with the blast intended to generate support for Putin and further Russian attacks on Kiev, British officials said last night.