Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the mass production of the Zircon hypersonic nuclear missile ahead of an expected offensive into Ukraine early next year, The Sun reported.
Putin has said Zircon could fly at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 620 miles, according to The Associated Press. He has ordered the Zircon missile to be deployed in 2022 by the Russian Navy, boasting that it is “truly unparalleled … in the world,” per The Sun.
There was a successful hypersonic missile test from a frigate in the White Sea on Nov. 18, following a submarine test a month earlier. The missiles have been in development for over 20 years and are considered a critical next step for Putin’s arsenal.
Russia’s deputy premier Yury Borisov claimed last month that Russia had outpaced the West in hypersonic weapons.
“We have broken forward, specifically, in the sphere of hypersonic weapons and (those) based on new physical principles,” he said. “We now have serious advantages in this regard over the leading Western countries — and will try to maintain this position.”
Ukrainian commander Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Kyiv’s defence intelligence agency, said that Russia has planned an attack in late January that would involve some 100,000 Russian soldiers on 10 fronts.
In an article published on Friday night, Putin ally Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Russian Foreign Affairs Council, said that Moscow would be seeking more than verbal reassurances from NATO, per The Sun.
“This recent round of escalation in Eastern Europe showed that the old principles of security on the continent are no longer working,” Lukyanov said. “Russia will have to change the system and draw new ‘red lines.'”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky recently alleged that Russian “representatives” are planning to overthrow his government next week, which Russia has denied, BBC reported.
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