MOSCOW: The Russian military says it will continue using its state-of-the-art hypersonic missile to hit particularly important targets in Ukraine.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Monday that the Kinzhal hypersonic missile “has proven its efficiency in destroying heavily fortified special facilities.”
He said that a Kinzhal missile was used Friday to hit a Soviet-era arsenal for storing missiles near the western town of Deliatyn in the Carpathian Mountains, the first time the new weapon was used in combat.
It also was used in a strike on the fuel depot in Kostiantynivka near the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv over the weekend.
Konashenkov noted that Kinzhal was used for these strikes due to its high kinetic energy and its ability to penetrate defenses.
Konashenkov said that Kinzhal missiles were fired at a distance of more than 1,000 kilometers (over 620 miles).
Kinzhal, one of an array of hypersonic weapons developed by Russian in recent years, has a range of 2,000 kilometers(1,250 miles) and flies at a speed 10 times the speed of sound.
It’s carried by specially redesigned MiG-31 fighter jets.
The Russian military says it has hit a shopping mall on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv because it has been used to store rockets.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.Gen.Igor Konashenkov charged Monday that the Ukrainian forces were using the shopping mall to reload multiple rocket launchers and store rockets used for shelling Russian troops.
He said that a battery of multiple rocket launchers and ammunition for them were destroyed in the strike.
The defense ministry spokesman’s claims could not independently verified.
The shopping center in the densely populated Podil district was reduced to a smoldering ruin after being hit late Sunday by shelling that killed eight people, according to Ukrainian emergency officials.
The attack shattered every window in a neighboring high-rise.
A senior U.S. defence official says the Russians have increased the number of military aircraft sorties over Ukraine over the past two days, doing as many as 300 in the last 24 hours.
The official said Monday that Ukraine has also increased the pace of its military flights, but declined to provide numbers.
Officials have made it clear that Russia has vastly more aircraft, and flies a great deal more than Ukraine does, but that Russia still does not have air superiority over the country yet.
The official said that most of the military flights involve air-to-ground strikes, mainly on stationary targets, and that the Russian aircraft are not spending a lot of time in Ukrainian airspace.
The Ukraine military has continued to use its short and long-range air defense systems and drones to target Russian aircraft.
The Russians have also increased naval activity in the northern Black Sea, but there are no indications at this point of an amphibious assault on Odesa.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the military’s assessment.