Mark Galeotti Mark Galeotti

Why is Putin firing a hypersonic missile in Ukraine?

The Kinzhal missile is serious overkill

Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles fly over Red Square on Victory Day, 2018 (photo: Getty)

Putin, like many other belligerent autocrats, does like his Wunderwaffen, or ‘wonder weapons.’ Now it appears he’s even used one in an act of wasteful overkill in Ukraine: using the hypersonic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger) missile to apparently destroy an arms depot in western Ukraine.

The Kinzhal was one of the six ‘magic weapons’ Putin unveiled in a moderately-deranged section of his 2018 state-of-the-nation address, which was memorably enlivened by a computer animation of what looked like a nuclear attack on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

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