Russian television host Vladimir Solovyov recently bragged about how Russian hypersonic missiles called Kinzhal are capable of hitting London in just 9 minutes if they were launched, newsweek.com informs.
“Everybody there is getting hysterical today because it can get to London from Belarus in 9 minutes,” Solovyov said in a segment on state-television that was posted with English subtitles to Twitter on Saturday by Julia Davis, a columnist at The Daily Beast and creator of the Russian Media Monitor.
The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal is a Russian nuclear-capable hypersonic aero-ballistic missile with a claimed range of 2,000 kilometers, according to the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
“The Killjoy missile also known as Kinzhal has a range of over 2,000 km and can reach a speed 12 times the speed of sound, 9 minutes and ‘hello London!’ or rather ‘Hello and goodbye London!'” Solovyov added.
In September, State Duma deputy Andrey Gurulyov said on Russian state-television that his country could hit the United Kingdom with nuclear weapons and turn it into a “Martian desert” as a response to the country’s involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Gurulyov, at the time, also sent threats to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Germany, and the United States.
The U.K. has been an avid supporter of Ukraine since the beginning of the war in late February, with Britain donating £2.3 billion (around $2.61 billion) in 2022, the British government said on its website in September. Like other Western countries, the U.K. has also placed sanctions on Moscow.
“We have trained 27,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2015, and in the last year we have provided hundreds of rockets, five air defense systems, 120 armored vehicles and over 200,000 pieces of non-lethal military equipment,” the U.K. government added.
Gurulyov in September downplayed the possibility of NATO responding to Russian attacks as retaliation as per the organization’s Article 5 agreement, which states that if a NATO ally is a victim of an armed attack, every other member in the military bloc will consider it an attack against all members and respond.
“[President Joe] Biden says there would be a reaction, per their Article 5, but if we turn the British Isles into a Martian desert in 3 minutes flat, using tactical nuclear weapons, not strategic ones, they could use Article 5, but for whom? A nonexistent country, turned into a Martian desert? They won’t respond,” Gurulyov said.
Meanwhile, British defense officials published satellite imagery on Tuesday, which they said showed two MiG-31K Foxhound jets parked at the Machulishchy Airfield in the Minsk region in Belarus on October 17. Close by the aircraft was a canister that officials said “is associated with the AS-24 KILLJOY, or Kinzhal, air launched ballistic missile.”
No details were provided about whether there were more than one Kinzhal, but British defense officials raised concerns about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin can use Belarus as a staging ground for attacks on the Eastern European country, which is something that Moscow has previously done. The Kinzhal missiles can mostly evade Ukraine’s air defense systems.