- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2023

Russia fired an “unusually large” number of Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missiles as part of a wave of long-range airstrikes that targeted critical Ukrainian infrastructure and killed at least 11 civilians, British defense officials said Friday.

Ukraine says Russia launched 81 cruise missiles and Iranian-supplied drones on Thursday, along with six Kinzhal hypersonic missiles that are capable of eluding Kyiv’s air defense net. Moscow also fired air defense missiles that had been configured to a surface-to-surface mode, British officials said in their latest intelligence assessment of the war in Ukraine.

Hypersonic missiles are typically intended for use against high-value targets, such as aircraft carriers. Pentagon officials have suggested that Moscow’s use of them in a general airstrike indicates they are dealing with supply problems.

The airstrikes came as Russia continues its offensive operations targeting the critical city of Bakhmut.

It was the first major wave of long-range strikes since Feb. 23 and one of the largest since December 2022, U.K. defense analysts said in their latest intelligence assessment. 

The interval between such large Russian airstrikes directed against Ukrainian targets is likely increasing because Moscow first needs to stockpile a “critical mass” of missiles before it can launch a mission large enough to overwhelm Ukrainian defenses, British officials said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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