Russia said it has used a hypersonic missile in Ukraine for the second time since the outbreak of hostilities, this time claiming to have struck a storage facility for fuel and lubricants used by the Ukrainian armed forces near the southern village of Kostiantynivka.
Russia’s defense ministry said in a March 20 operational update that on Sunday morning it had launched an aircraft-based hypersonic Kinzhal (“Dagger”) missile from airspace over Crimea, hitting and destroying the storage facility near Kostyantynivka, which is in the northern part of the Mikolaiv Oblast.
If accurate, this would be the second use of a hypersonic missile in the Russia–Ukraine war and, at the same time, the second use of such a weapon in combat. The first reportedly took place on Friday, with Russia’s defense ministry saying its forces used a hypersonic missile to destroy a large underground storage facility for missiles and aviation ammunition in Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankovsk region.
The Pentagon has not confirmed that a hypersonic weapon was used in the attacks and The Epoch Times has not been able to verify the claims.
Hypersonic weapons are defined as anything traveling beyond Mach 5, or around 3,800 mph, which is five times faster than the speed of sound.
The United States is in a race with Russia and China to develop hypersonic weapons and is accelerating development to catch up.
Hypersonic weapons travel at speeds similar to ballistic missiles but their maneuverability makes them difficult to shoot down.
Russia’s defense ministry said in a Monday update that, to date, Russian forces have destroyed 216 Ukrainian drones, 1,506 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 152 multiple launch rocket systems, 592 field artillery and mortars, and 1,284 special military vehicles.
The Ukrainian military on Monday reported more attacks against Russian forces, claiming that at least 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in combat.
The Ukrainian General Staff said that at least 1,535 Russian armored personnel carriers, 969 vehicles, 498 tanks, 121 helicopters, 97 aircraft, and 24 drones have been destroyed.
The bulk of Russian forces remain around 16 miles from the center of Kyiv, with a Russian advance on the city from the northeast remaining “stalled,” according to UK intelligence.
Nearly 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine amid the fighting, according to the U.N., while at least 816 civilians have been killed.