“I think the reason he is resorting to using these types of weapons is because he is trying to re-establish some momentum,” Said Austin…reports Asian Lite News
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin has said that Russia’s claim of using a hypersonic missile in Ukraine was a way to reclaim war momentum, and the weapon has not proved to be a “game changer,” media reported.
Moscow has said it has fired two hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, and while US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would not “confirm or dispute” whether Russia used such weapons, he warned that President Vladimir Putin’s invasion was undergoing a change in tactics including the targeting of civilians.
CNN earlier reported that the US officially confirmed Russia’s use of ‘Dagger’ nuclear-capable hypersonic aeroballistic air-to-ground missile during the hostilities in Ukraine.
According to the CNN report, this was the first recorded case of the use of such missiles during Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
But “I would not see it as a game changer,” Austin told CBS talk show “Face the Nation.”
“I think the reason he is resorting to using these types of weapons is because he is trying to re-establish some momentum,” he added. “And again, we’ve seen him attack towns and cities and civilians outright (and) we expect to see that continue.”
The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal, also known as ‘Dagger’, has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km, Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive manoeuvers at every stage of its flight.
It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and can be launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or MIG 31 K interceptors.
It entered service in December 2017 and is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.
Russia’s use of the hard-to-intercept hypersonics would mark a dramatic escalation of its campaign to force Ukraine to abandon hopes of closer ties with the West.
On Saturday, Russia’s Ministry of Defence had announced the use of the Dagger missiles to strike an underground warehouse in Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region.
The US Department of Defence was able to track missile launches in real time. Weapons were used to fire on military personnel in the region’s Delyatyn village.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence believes that the offensive of the Russian forces in Ukraine has slowed down due to the inability to take control of the airspace.
“Russia has failed to gain control of the air and relies mainly on short-range weapons, which fire from the relative security zone in Russian airspace to hit targets within Ukraine,” it said.
At the same time, it is noted that gaining control of the airspace in Ukraine was one of the main goals in the first days of the conflict and the constant inability of the Russians to achieve this “significantly blunted their operational progress”, the Ministry added.