Is Vladimir Putin literally breaking out the big guns in an effort to finally destroy the resistance in Ukraine? That seems to be the implication if an announcement from the Russian army is to be believed. While not technically the “biggest guns” they have in their arsenal, one of Russia’s generals claimed that they used one of their new Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missiles to destroy an underground ammunition depot near the Polish border this morning. We’ve long since passed the point where you can take any statements made by Russian officials at face value, but we do know that Moscow has successfully tested their hypersonic weapons before. This would be the first use of such a missile in actual combat, however. (NBC News)
Russia’s military said Saturday it had used a hypersonic missile in combat for the first time to destroy an ammunition depot in Ukraine’s west.
Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the “Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles,” was deployed Friday, in a video posted on Russian state media RIA’s Telegram channel. He added that it “destroyed a large underground warehouse” containing “missiles and aviation ammunition” in the village of Delyatyn, a small community around 380 miles west of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.
NBC News was not able to verify his claims, which came after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for talks with Moscow to stop its invasion and “restore territorial integrity and justice to Ukraine,” in a video message released late Friday.
As noted in the article, NBC was unable to verify that an ammunition depot had actually been destroyed and, if so, a hypersonic missile was used to do it. I would imagine that American intelligence officials have been watching the action closely via satellite surveillance systems and they should be able to confirm or deny the story soon enough.
Would Russia lie about something like this? That’s probably a silly question at this point. They’ve been lying through their teeth about almost every aspect of the invasion of Ukraine since well before it even began. But the use of these advanced weapons systems, or even the threat of using them, might be Putin’s way of trying to intimidate the Ukrainian resistance.
If so, that might be some sort of compromise measure in terms of a question that we looked at here recently. Some analysts have grown concerned that Putin might deploy a tactical nuclear weapon if he grows too frustrated with his lack of progress in sacking Ukraine. Perhaps that’s still a bridge too far, but he’s thinking that the new hypersonic missiles might send the same message?
In any event, Mad Vlad has more bad news to be frustrated by as of this morning. Ukraine is claiming to have killed another Russian general in combat.
Russian Lieutenant-General Andrei Mordvichev was killed during fighting, Ukraine’s armed forces said Saturday in a statement on its Facebook page.
It said Mordvichev “the commander of the 8th All-Military Army of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces,” was killed “as a result of fire damage.”
That headline hasn’t been confirmed yet either, and Ukraine has been known to pad some of their numbers to emphasize the effectiveness of their resistance. But if it turns out to be true, Russia has lost something in the range of a half-dozen of their most senior military officers in less than a month. That’s a really curious development because the top brass tends to command from the rear in most war scenarios. So either they have advanced too quickly without clearing the resistance and allowed the Ukrainians to get behind them in force or their soldiers are so disorganized and bad at this that the generals feel compelled to go to the front lines and direct the action themselves. Either way, it’s not a positive development for the vaunted Russian army.