U.S. General Confirms Russia Launched Multiple Hypersonic Missiles in Ukraine

U.S. General Confirms Russia Launched Multiple Hypersonic Missiles in Ukraine

A top U.S. official stated that Russia used hypersonic missiles in an attempt to intimidate Ukraine.

Earlier in March, Russia was believed to have become the first country to fire a hypersonic missile in combat. While President Joe Biden confirmed the launch, it was downplayed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Western officials. Russia announced on March 19 that it had indeed used a hypersonic weapon in Ukraine. 

“And if you’ll notice, [Russia has] just launched the hypersonic missile, because it’s the only thing that they can get through with absolute certainty,” Biden said on March 21. “It’s a consequential weapon … it’s almost impossible to stop it. There’s a reason they’re using it.”

Russia had fired air-launched Kinzhal missiles, and while Biden appeared to talk up the weapons’ potential, others in his administration sought to downplay it.

“I would not see it as a game changer,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on CBS’ Face the Nation two weeks ago. 

This week, however, a top U.S. official confirmed that the launch took place, adding that Russia has fired “multiple” hypersonic weapons. 

“There have been multiple launches. Most of them have been directed at military targets,” U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, the top U.S. commander in Europe, said ten days after the Russians claimed the launch, according to Defense One. Wolters’ comment was made while he was speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

“I think it was to demonstrate the capability and attempt to put fear in the hearts of the enemy. And I don't think they were successful,” Wolters added. 

The report also said that while hypersonic missiles are usually “designed to thwart the world’s most sophisticated air defenses,” Ukraine does not have those types of defenses at its disposal. However, the United States and its allies are continuing to provide Ukraine with air defenses and other support as the war continues, General Wolters told Congress. “We've seen cases—for example, with a large armored brigade combat team—that we've been able to transact that in weeks as opposed to months,” he added. 

Wolters claimed that although Russia has dedicated at least 70 percent of its military capability to the war in Ukraine, Moscow has been unable to achieve many of its objectives.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.