President Biden on Monday appeared to confirm that Russia used a hypersonic missile in Ukraine over the weekend. Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Saturday that it used a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile in a strike that targeted a Ukrainian weapons depot.
The strike makes Russia the first country to use a hypersonic weapon in combat. Biden claimed that the Russians used the hypersonic missile since they were not doing well on the battlefield, a narrative that the US has been pushing as it continues to pour more weapons into Ukraine.
“They’ve just launched their hypersonic missile because it’s the only thing they can get through with absolute certainty,” Biden said. “As you all know, it’s a consequential weapon but with the same warhead on it as any other launched missile. It doesn’t make that much difference except it’s almost impossible to stop it. There’s a reason they’re using it.”
Hypersonic missiles travel over five times the speed of sound and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads. Earlier in the day, the Pentagon said it couldn’t confirm if Russia used the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal and downplayed the use of hypersonics.
” I would not see it as a game changer,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who also suggested Russia would use the weapon since it’s not doing well on the battlefield. “I think the reason he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is resorting to using these types of weapons is because he is trying to re-establish some momentum,” Austin added.