Russian navy tests Zircon hypersonic missile in the White Sea
The launch was part of a testing exercise of new types of weapons, state news agency TASS reported. It cited Russia‘s Ministry of Defence as saying: “Today, the lead frigate of Project 22350 Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile at a sea target position in the White Sea from the Barents Sea.” The speed of the missile was described on national television as “so high that it prevents the opponent’s air defence system from detecting its impact in time”.
President Vladimir Putin has previously said of the testing of Zircon, a missile part of a new generation of hypersonic arms systems that Russia has been developing since at least 2018: “Now it is especially important to develop and implement the technologies necessary to create new hypersonic weapons systems, high-powered lasers and robotic systems that will be able to effectively counter potential military threats, which means they will further strengthen the security of our country.”
TV Zvezda, a channel owned by the Russian MoD, said of footage showing the missile: “The Russian Zircon hypersonic missile’s stealth features have been disclosed…
The Zircon, branded by the Kremlin as “unstoppable”, has a “variable trajectory” to avoid detection, viewers were told in March.
Russia has test-launched its Zircon hypersonic missile at a target 1,000km away, Moscow said
The frigate’s commander, first rank captain Igor Krokhmal, said in the broadcast: No one will see the missile launch or its flight. They will only see when the missile hits the target.
“I don’t think there will be anything to counter this in the next few years.”
The Zircon was earlier this month included in harsh remarks by a Kremlin mouthpiece Yaakov Kedmi towards Britain as he said one or two of the missiles could wipe out dozens of British power stations within minutes.
Politician Aleksey Zhuravlyov and propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov had suggested striking Britain with Satan-2.
But Kedmi, speaking on a TV show with anchor Vladimir Solovyov, who is also known as “Putin’s Voice”, said that would be “overkill”.
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He said: “Sarmat [Satan-2] is too good, and too big, for Great Britain.
“There is no need to use [such a big weapon] for Britain at all.
“About 50 or 60 of Britain’s power stations will be gone in ten minutes.
“And all of Britain will be back to the Stone Age. Within ten minutes, nothing else is needed. It’ll be back to the Stone Age in ten minutes.”
Such statements have become common practice among Kremlin well-wishers.
On Thursday, Aleksey Zhuravlyov, leader of the nationalist party Rodina (Motherland), part of Russia’s managed opposition, repeatedly alluded to his country’s nuclear capabilities during an appearance on Russia’s 60 Minutes programme.
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Taking aim at German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had told the World Economic Forum in Davos that Putin “must not win this war” in Ukraine, he claimed: “It’s madness. Is this moron really thinking we could lose? Us, a nuclear nation?
“In the end, you will be reduced to ashes.”
In reference to Mr Scholz’s assessment that the West could not accept the terms Moscow laid out in peace talks, Zhuravlyov added: “If you can’t accept our terms, then we’ll force you.
“Scholz should know that.
“If you force us to use nuclear weapons we’ll have no other choice.”
In response to previous nuclear threats by Putin, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace suggested the UK could feel safe given its NATO membership.
Speaking to LBC radio, Mr Wallace said: “I don’t feel rattled.
“We have strong armed forces and a nuclear deterrent and we’re part of a NATO partnership of 30 nations who outgun him, outnumber him and have potentially all the capabilities at our disposal.
“I don’t fear him, and I think we should be very grateful in this country that we have a nuclear deterrent.”