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Russia fires ‘invisible’ hypersonic missile in Ukraine for first time

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T

he Russian military has fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine for the time in the conflict.

Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry, said its Kinzhal missile destroyed an underground warehouse storing ammunition for Ukrainian troops in the western Ivano-Frankivsk region.

The Kinzhal – or “Dagger” – missile is believed to have a range of 1,250 miles.

Its speed and ability to fly low makes it “invisible” to most anti-missile defence systems.

Russia said it had also destroyed Ukrainian military radio and reconnaissance centres near the port city of Odessa using a coastal missile system, Interfax news agency reported.

It is unknown if the strikes caused any casualties.

“The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aero-ballistic missiles destroyed a large underground ammunition depot in the Ivano-Frankivsk region,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

Hypersonic weapons are considered the next generation of arms. They can reach more than five times the speed of sound.

The weapons pose a crucial challenge to missile defense systems because of their speed and manoeuvrability.

The head of the UK’s armed forces has previously warned that Britain needed to develop hypersonic missiles to keep up with the military competition.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin highlighted Russia’s hypersonic and long-range missile capability as a threat and Britain’s comparative capabilities as a weakness. “We haven’t (got them) and we must have,” he said.

It comes as Russia expanded its missile strikes to Lviv in the west of the country on Friday.

Russia also launched an early morning attack on Lviv, the city’s mayor said, as British intelligence suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion made “minimal progress” this week.

An update from the Ministry of Defence said Ukrainian forces were continuing to “frustrate” Moscow’s attempt to encircle cities including Kyiv and Mykolai.

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