Categories
Security Defense CSS Blog

Russia’s hypersonic story in Ukraine: “Is this a dagger which I see before me?”

Image courtesy of @mod_russia on Twitter.

What does the reported first battle use of a hypersonic missile mean for the dynamic of Putin’s war in Ukraine? Open-source intelligence sources suggest that the Russian Kinzhal is a propaganda weapon.

On early Saturday March 19, the Russian Ministry of Defence released a video claiming that Russian forces fired a Kinzhal (“dagger” in Russian) missile against a military ammunitions warehouse close to Ukraine’s borders with Romania and Hungary. If this strike really did occur, it would be the first known battle use of a hypersonic weapon. However, the expert community has already pointed to several inconsistences in this Russian story. Furthermore, the use of Kinzhal would not alter the military balance in Russia’s favour. The second alleged launch of Kinzhal, which was supposed to have hit a fuel depot in Kostiantynivka near Mykolaiv on Sunday, was simply announced by defense ministry spokesman at a press conference.

Categories
Security Nuclear CSS Blog

A New US President Offers Chances to Reduce NATO-Russia Tensions

Image courtesy of U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine/Flickr.

Russian foreign policy needs to be understood and adequately addressed for diplomacy to have a chance for a comeback in NATO-Russia relations. Here, the election of Joe Biden as US president could serve to reverse the worrisome tendencies in US foreign policy under Trump and restore pragmatic dialog and direct military contacts with Moscow. Calls from expert communities for rebuilding the arms control architecture to reduce the risk of unintended incidents and escalation are growing louder.