A satellite image released by the British Ministry of Defense reveals that a Russian missile with atomic capabilities was brought to Machulishchi airport, in Belarus, about eight kilometers south of Minsk. It is the hypersonic weapon – codenamed Killjoy by the NATO forces and Dagger by the Russians – and is part of the arsenal of Putin since 2018. It has a range of almost 2000 km. A range that, theoretically, could also reach Italy.
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The deadly weapon, which can be loaded with up to 1,000 pounds of explosives or a nuclear warhead, has been moved approximately 1,100 miles from London, according to British intelligence. The Defense Ministry released an intelligence update on Tuesday with an image taken on Oct.17 at Machulishch Airport. The photo shows two MiG-31K Foxhound jets near a possible seven-meter-long missile container. The British Ministry of Defense said the container is likely to house an air-launched As-24 Killjoy ballistic missile.
Latest Defense Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 1 November 2022
Find out more about the UK government’s response: https://t.co/ohQH7fYyqM
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/Q9WxS4UKza
– Ministry of Defense 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) November 1, 2022
The Killjoy missile
The Killjoy can travel up to 12 times the speed of sound and its ability to be launched from the air via a jet makes it nearly impossible to detect and neutralize from a defensive position. If launched from Belarus, it could hit London in about nine minutes. Intelligence suggests that the Russia it could hit additional targets beyond Ukraine, the Defense Ministry said.
How do they work
“Russia occasionally dropped these weapons during the war in Ukraine, but supplies are likely very limited,” according to the update. “He probably carried out the deployment mainly to send messages to the West and to portray Belarus as increasingly complicit in the war.”
The previous use
The Russian Defense Ministry said it used a Dagger missile to hit an underground warehouse in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. Although the Defense Ministry believes the weapon constitutes only a small part of Putin’s arsenal, it has shown an escalation in his airstrike campaign as the war in Ukraine continues to rage.
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