Hypersonic-missile armed jets to patrol Black Sea – Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists on Wednesday that he has ordered warplanes to conduct regular patrols of the neutral airspace over the Black Sea.
“Our MiG-31 planes are armed with Kinzhal missile systems. It is known that they have a range of over 1,000 km and a Mach-9 speed,” he said at a press conference in Beijing.
The announcement was not meant as a threat, Putin stressed, but rather a reaction to escalating instability, particularly in the Middle East. He mentioned the US’ deployment of two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Mediterranean Sea in support of Israel as a factor.
As stipulated by Putin, the range of the hypersonic weapons potentially puts the eastern part of the sea within striking distance of Russian patrols.
Putin reported the development after commenting on the confirmation by the US that it had supplied several ATACMS ground-launched ballistic missiles to Ukraine, providing a new military capability for Kiev’s forces fighting Russia. The president called it a mistake for several reasons, such as dragging the US deeper into the conflict.
“Let no one say they have nothing to do with it. We believe they do,” he stressed.
He also described as “laughable” the notion that Russia has “already lost” in Ukraine. US President Joe Biden voiced it on several occasions during the conflict in the sense that Moscow supposedly wanted to conquer the entire country and failed to do that. The Russian government denied ever having such aspirations.
“If Russia has lost the war, why supply ATACMS? Let him take back the ATACMS and the rest of the weapons, get some pancakes, and come to us for a tea party,” Putin mused.
In an interview with CBS News last Sunday, Biden urged the audience to imagine a future in which “we, in fact, unite all of Europe and Putin is finally put down,” claiming it was achievable.