‘No weapon like it’: Putin issues ominous hypersonic missile threat in Navy Day speech

Putin issues ominous hypersonic missile threat

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President Putin has used the annual Russian ceremonial event of Navy Day to issue an ominous threat of hypersonic missile weapons against NATO powers. Addressing officials and crowds gathered in St Petersburg, the Kremlin leader boasted of the great naval force Russia holds, soon to be bolstered by the terrifying capabilities of Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles. Putin also committed to a new naval doctrine which explicitly casts the United States as Russia’s main rival after the Kremlin has repeatedly denounced the power of the NATO alliance. He declared the advanced missile technology would be used to protect Russia from such international threats, when the state deems necessary.

Diana Magnay, Sky News Moscow correspondent, reported from St Petersburg, surrounded by crowds of Russian people, lining the street in support of the military celebration.

Ms Magnay said: “He [Putin] didn’t actually mention Ukraine directly but talked about how the navy would soon be in possession of the zircon hypersonic missile, which Russia has been developing for quite some time.

“He talked about how there was no class of missile quite like it. 

“It can go nine times the speed of sound and is soon to be in deployment with the Russian naval forces to be used, he said, as Russia sees fit to protect its sovereignty and freedom.”

The Zircon system referenced by the Russian president is a form of anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile which has been in production for several years.

The missiles are highly agile and capable of reaching such high speeds that they are difficult for rival defence systems to intercept before they make contact with the chosen target.

President Putin asserted the technology would be installed on Russian navy warships over the coming months, as the war in Ukraine continues. 

However, the capabilities of the Russian technology have not been independently verified despite the Kremlin’s repeated boasts of hypersonic missile power.

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An Executive Order signed by President Putin on Sunday outlined the “main challenges and threats” to Russian national security.

The doctrine warns of America’s “strategic objective to dominate the world’s oceans,” as a core threat to Russian naval authority.

The order read: “Russia’s independent internal and external policy faces counter-measures from the United States and its allies, who aim to preserve their dominance in the world, including its oceans.”

The doctrine signed by Putin asserted Russia will defend its interests in the world’s oceans “firmly and with resolution.”

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While Putin did not directly reference the ongoing invasion of Ukraine in his Navy Day address, the doctrine signed by the Kremlin leader outlines a core aim of “strengthening Russia’s geopolitical position.”

The 55-page naval doctrine also condemned the movement of NATO military powers closer to Russia’s borders in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s Navy Day celebrations were compromised by a “drone attack” by Ukrainian forces in Sevastopol.

The port city in Crimea, which hosts the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet, was forced to cancel Navy Day festivities after what Russian authorities in the region described as an attack by the Ukrainian military.

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