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Russia fires Zircon missile in Ukraine for first time, experts say

  • Russia has fired a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile in Ukraine for the first time, experts say.
  • The director of the kyiv Scientific Research Institute said he had found evidence of a recent attack.
  • The missile is launched from a ship and can reach speeds of up to 6,000 mph, according to reports.

Russia used a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile for the first time in Ukraine, experts say.

Oleksandr Ruvin, director of the kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, said in a statement Telegram message On Monday, institute staff found identifying marks among missiles launched during an attack last Wednesday.

“This is demonstrated by the markings on the parts and fragments, the identification of components and parts, as well as the characteristics of the type of weapon concerned,” Ruvin wrote, in a statement. translation by the Kyiv Independent.

He said the missile wreckage had characteristics specific to a 3M22 Zircon missile, including the inscription “3L22” engraved on some fragments, as well as the number 26 on the bolts holding the steering systems.

Ruvin shared a video of the debris to support his claim.

The attack killed at least five people and injured more than 50 others, the report said.

The Zircon missile, also known as the Tsirkon, is part of a hypersonic program that Russia has been working on in recent years, according to a report. report by the Congressional Research Service.

The missile is launched from a ship and can reach speeds of Mach 6 to Mach 8, or between approximately 4,500 mph and 6,000 mph, according to the CRS report. This means it can fly up to 8 times the speed of sound.

Russian officials claim that it can actually travel at Mach 9, or about 6,900 mph.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called weapons like Zircon “invincible” and impossible to defend against.

In this image taken from a video released by the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday, May 28, 2022, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by the Russian Navy's Admiral Gorshkov frigate from the Barents Sea.

The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov fires a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile into the Barents Sea in May 2022.
Press service of the Russian Defense Ministry via AP

According to Russian state media, this is not the first time that Russia has fired this missile.

Zircon missiles were successfully launched in January, October, December 2020 and May 2022, as well as from a Yasen-class submarine in October 2021, the CRS said, citing a TASS report.

Russia too deployed the missile on a frigate in January 2023.

At the time, Putin said the weapon had “no analogues in any country in the world”.

The missile’s capabilities should not be overestimated, Business Insider’s Michael Peck reported Last year.

When an object moves at Mach 5 or faster, it ionizes the air around it and creates a sheath of plasma that obstructs radar signals, posing a problem when approaching moving targets, a- he writes.

Although the missile debris is still being analyzed, researchers at the Kiev Institute of Scientific Research and Forensic Expertise said that “the weapon does not meet the tactical and technical characteristics claimed” by Russia, according to a report. translation by the Kyiv Independent.

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