British intelligence assesses threat of Russian aircraft with Kinzhal missiles patrolling Black Sea
On October 18, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said that Russian aircraft armed with Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger) would patrol the space over the Black Sea. The intelligence community believes that this is Russia's way of demonstrating its military strength
The UK Ministry of Defense writes about this.
According to the intelligence, the Russian leader referred to the strengthening of the US maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean with the intention of holding these vessels at risk using a weapon system with a range of up to 2,000 km.
It is noted that Putin's statement is in line with typical Russian rhetoric aimed at its domestic audience, which calls the West "aggressors" and Russia's activity as "necessary to protection of the state."
According to intelligence, Putin emphasized the presence of Kinzhal missiles in the MiG-31 to show that Russia can continue to produce and operate new weapons despite the war in Ukraine. However, Kinzhal remains at the stage of operational testing, with its performance in Ukraine to date being poor.
"It remains highly capable on paper, able to fly at hypersonic speeds and evade modern air defense systems, although there almost certainly needs to be significant improvement in how Russia uses it to achieve this potential," the intelligence added.
- On Wednesday, October 18, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held lengthy talks on cooperation. After the meeting, Putin said that Ukraine had "thought about the negotiations" and that Russian planes with Kinzhal missiles would now patrol the Black Sea.
- The spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuriy Ihnat, believes that Putin's new statements about patrolling the Black Sea with aircraft armed with Kinzhal missiles are probably aimed at increasing tension, but will not change anything for Ukraine.