The “dagger”: Putin launches operation with his “unstoppable wonder weapon”

At its introduction in 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of an “unstoppable” wonder weapon. On October 28, he announced plans to conduct fighter patrols with interceptors armed with this “wonder weapon.”

Specifically, it involves the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ballistic missiles, translated as “Dagger.” The fighter patrols with MiG-31 interceptors are to be conducted in the eastern Black Sea.

The British Ministry of Defence writes on X: “His justification referred to the recent enhancement of the U.S. naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean with the intent to endanger these ships with a weapon system with a published range of up to 2000 km. This announcement is consistent with typical Russian rhetoric, aimed at the domestic audience, depicting the West as the aggressor, while portraying Russian activities as necessary for state protection. Putin’s explicit mention of the KINZHAL missile and its capabilities most certainly served strategic messaging purposes, to show that Russia, despite the ongoing Ukraine conflict, continues to be capable of producing and deploying newly developed weapons. The KINZHAL is still in the testing phase, with its performance in Ukraine so far being poor. On paper, it remains highly capable of flying at hypersonic speeds and evading modern air defense systems, although the way Russia employs it certainly needs significant improvement to realize this potential.”

Image:, VictoryDayParade2018-22, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (image size modified)

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