Russia Claims It Used Hypersonic Missiles in Ukraine War for the First Time

Russia has said that it has used its newest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles for the first time in the Ukraine war, which if confirmed would signal an escalation by the invading forces.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov said that Kinzhal missiles had targeted a military warehouse in the west of Ukraine on Friday.

"The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large underground warehouse of missiles and aviation ammunition of Ukrainian troops in the village of Delyatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region," he said, according to news agency RIA.

The region of Ivano-Frankivsk has a 30-mile border with Romania, a member of NATO, which has rejected entering the conflict in Ukraine directly.

The Russian defense ministry published on its news outlet Zvezda what it said was footage of the strike that was filmed using an unmanned aerial vehicle. The missile is nuclear capable, although this was a conventional strike.

Konashenkov also said Russian forces had used the Bastion anti-ship missile system to strike Ukrainian military facilities near the Black Sea port of Odesa.

Newsweek has contacted Ukraine's ministry of defense, which has not confirmed Moscow's claims.

The Kinzhal missile system has been a key feature of Russian President Vladimir Putin's boasts about his country's capabilities in hypersonic weapons, whose speed, maneuverability and altitude make them difficult to track and intercept.

Moscow reportedly first used the Kinzhal, which means "dagger" in Russian, during its military campaign in Syria in 2016. It was unclear if the missiles allegedly used on Friday were the same model.

Also on Friday, four Russian cruise missiles hit a strategic airfield in the first attack on the city of Lviv in the west of Ukraine, which had been considered a relatively safe haven for diplomats, aid workers, refugees and journalists.

Britain's Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said the strike showed that Putin was widening the invasion of Ukraine.

In the southern city of Mykolaiv, dozens of people were reportedly killed Friday after Russian forces shelled a Ukrainian army barracks housing troops who were training to defend the city.

The BBC reported that at least 80 bodies had been pulled from the rubble, although the death toll may rise as rescuers continued to search through the wreckage.

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said there was no time to sound air raid sirens before the raid that was launched from the nearby Kherson region, which has been occupied by Russian forces.

For more information on the war in Ukraine follow Newsweek's live blog.

Kinzhal
Russian MiG-31 jets carrying hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2018. Russia's defense ministry said on Saturday that the hypersonic missiles had been used during its invasion of Ukraine for the first time on Friday. YURI KADOBNOV/Getty Images