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Zircon Unleashed: Putin Strikes Ukraine with 'Invincible' New Hypersonic Missile

Russia Fires Zircon Missile for the First Time in Ukraine
Source: MEGA

Russia reportedly used the 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile for the first time in the Ukraine war.

Feb. 16 2024, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

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Russia employed the 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile in its recent barrage against Ukraine, marking the first time this “invincible” weapon was used by Vladimir Putin since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine.

The missile strike resulted in the tragic loss of at least five lives and inflicted injuries on over 50 individuals, The Kyiv Independent reported.

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Oleksandr Ruvin, director of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, confirmed these details after examining the remnants of the missile following the attack. Ruvin shared a video of the wreckage on his Telegram channel to corroborate his findings.

Initial assessments by Ruvin revealed markings and characteristics consistent with the 3M22 "Zircon" missile, with fragments displaying the engraving "3L22" and unique features such as bolts bearing the number 26.

Further examination revealed additional markings indicating the missile's recent production in 2023 and 2024.

Ruvin underscored the specificity of components found in the debris, affirming their alignment with those unique to the 3M22 "Zircon" missile.

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Notably, Russia claimed they added to its arsenal with the 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile in January 2023, boasting its capabilities, including a range of 600 to 1,500 kilometers and speeds nine times that of sound.

Military analysts have highlighted the unprecedented speed of the 3M22 Zircon missile, creating potential challenges for air defense systems and its efficacy against large, fortified targets, according to Reuters.

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Despite Russia's claims regarding the missile's performance, ongoing analysis by experts from the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise suggests discrepancies between the declared specifications and the actual characteristics observed in the remnants.

A report from the Congressional Research Service in February 2024 revealed Putin's deployment of the 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile and the nuclear-capable "Avangard" hypersonic glide vehicle, allegedly to replace the Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile.

This move came in response to advancements in weaponry and missile defense systems in the United States, with Putin unveiling the "Avangard" hypersonic glide vehicle in 2018 as a strategic countermeasure.

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