Russia used a hypersonic Kinzhal “Dagger” missile to destroy a large weapons depot in Ukraine’s western Ivano-Frankivsk region said Russian Interfax news on Saturday. The news agency reported that Defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told in a briefing that an underground depot which housed Ukrainian missiles and aircraft ammunition was destroyed by the Kinzhal system on Friday. Ukraine’s air force command confirmed a Russian missile strike on Delyatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region Friday. The ballistic missile was likely deployed from the air by a MiG-31.
It was previously assessed that Russian air assets were primary using dumb bombs as an extension of their army as part of their strategy in Ukraine. Use of Daggers change the operational landscape in many ways because Daggers can travel up to Mach 5 and change direction while in mid-air which makes them very hard to intercept. Daggers will likely help the Russians mitigate against exposing their air assets to MANPADS because they can hit a target up to 2,000km (1,240 miles) away.
Some do not feel Daggers are too much of a gamechanger. For example, Dominika Kunertova of the Center of Security Studies in Zurich said, “It’s a sign of showmanship. Even if it’s used we should consider it as an isolated moment because Russia doesn’t have a large number of these missiles,”