Ukraine shoots down six Kinjal hypersonic missiles in night attack

Ukraine said on Tuesday it shot down six Russian Kinjal hypersonic missiles in a nighttime attack, a type of weaponry that is difficult to intercept, hours before an expected visit by a Chinese envoy.

“A new incredible achievement for the Ukrainian Air Force! Last night, the defenders of our skies shot down six Russian hypersonic Kinjal missiles and 12 other missiles,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted.

The Kinjal (“Dagger” in Russian) missile is one of the weapons touted as “invincible” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as their speed allows them to challenge most air defense systems.

During the night, AFP journalists saw Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense in kyiv in action and lighting up the night sky to destroy Russian missiles targeting the capital.

Ukraine announced for the first time that it had shot down a Russian Kinjal missile in early May, thanks to the powerful American Patriot anti-aircraft system, delivered to kyiv in April.

According to Ukrainian Chief of Staff Valery Zaluzhny, Russia attacked Ukraine “from the north, south and east” with Kinjals, Kalibr cruise missiles, S-400 anti-aircraft and Iskander ballistic missiles, but also Iranian-made drones.

“All have been destroyed!”, he welcomed on Telegram.

“It was exceptional in its density, a maximum number of missiles in a very tight time frame,” said the Kiev military administration.

According to the capital’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, three people were injured in the attack, which happened hours before Chinese envoy Li Hui was expected to arrive in Kiev for a two-day visit.

Ukrainian offensive near Bakhmout (AFP - )
Ukrainian offensive near Bakhmout (AFP – )

Special Representative for Eurasian Affairs, former Chinese Ambassador to Moscow, Li Hui is supposed to discuss the “political settlement” of the Ukrainian conflict. He must also go to Poland, France, Germany and Russia.

China, a close partner of Russia, has never publicly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She offered a 12-point plan to end the war, viewed with skepticism by Westerners.

– ‘New and powerful weapons’ –

This attack also comes the day after the return to kyiv of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after a European tour which took him to Italy, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

“Back home with (…) new and powerful weapons for the front,” Zelensky said in a video message, after securing new weapons and pledges of European aid.

This tour took place when the Ukrainian army claimed “the first success” of its assault on the flanks of Bakhmout, the epicenter city of fighting for months in eastern Ukraine, now controlled more than 90% by Russian forces.

But the time for a massive counter-offensive has not yet come, Volodymyr Zelensky tempered, repeating that Kiev “needs more time”, as he was received by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak near London .

The United Kingdom has promised the delivery of anti-aircraft missiles and long-range attack drones to kyiv. These will be added to the Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which the Russian military claimed to have shot down on the first Monday.

Mr. Zelensky also said he was “very optimistic” about potential deliveries of combat aircraft, which many European countries have so far refused to provide.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday evening that he had “opened the door to train” Ukrainian “pilots now” and “with several other European countries which are ready for it”. On the other hand, he refused to mention the delivery of fighter jets to kyiv other than as “a theoretical debate” at this stage.

On the diplomatic front, the 46 member states of the Council of Europe meet on Tuesday afternoon for a summit in Iceland to show their unity against Moscow.

The meeting, only the fourth for the pan-European organization in nearly 75 years of existence, aims to multiply the means to hold Russia criminally responsible for the destruction and crimes caused by its invasion of Ukraine.

Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by

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