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Russia used 2 Zircon hypersonic missiles in Feb. 7 attack, expert says

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 21, 2024 4:47 PM 2 min read
Damage from a downed Russian missile debris is seen in the Dniprovskyi district of Kyiv after the massive Russian attack on Feb. 7, 2024. (Anatoliy Siryk / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Russia launched two 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles during its large-scale attack against Ukraine on Feb. 7, Oleksandr Ruvin, director of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, said in an interview with Vechirniy Kyiv on Feb. 21.

Ruvin said on Feb. 12 that there was preliminary evidence that Russia had deployed a Zircon missile for the first time since the full-scale invasion during the attack on Feb. 7, which killed six and injured over 50.

During the interview with Vechirniy Kyiv, Ruvin specified that air defense forces downed one Zircon missile, which then fell in the Dniprovskyi district on the city's east bank, while another was downed over Vysheve in Kyiv Oblast and fell in a field.

The Zircon hypersonic missile, designed as an anti-ship missile, entered the arsenal of the Russian military in early 2023.

Moscow claimed it has a range of 600–1,500 kilometers, can travel at nine times the speed of sound, and has a warhead weighing about 300-400 kilograms.

There is reason to doubt these claims, according to Ruvin. The missile flew at around 2,500 kilometers per hour on the final part of its flight, not at the 10,000 kilometers per hour as claimed by Russia, Ruvin told Vechirniy Kyiv.

"Secondly, there are great doubts about its accuracy. The missiles were hit by air defense and did not reach their targets," Ruvin said.

"We did not see the destructive power that an anti-ship missile with almost 400 kilograms of explosives should have," Ruvin said.

The missile "was developed primarily as a weapon against aircraft carriers, which are very difficult to sink." According to Ruvin, it is "unlikely" the missile could successfully sink an aircraft carrier.

"We continue to investigate the remains of this anti-ship missile" and find out more about its components, Ruvin said.

The two Zircon missiles were among the 44 Russian projectiles downed by Ukrainian air defenses on Feb. 7. As well as Kyiv, Russia targeted Lviv, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv oblasts.

This was not the first attack of such scale during this winter. Russia carried out a number of massive attacks in the past weeks and months, most notably on Dec. 29, 2023, Jan. 2, and Jan. 23.

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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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