Russian President Vladimir Putin put his forces on red alert today announcing fighter jets carrying nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles would begin patrolling over the Black Sea.
The harrowing announcement came at a press conference during his visit to China. Following several devastating strikes by Ukraine on the Black Sea fleet, it’s likely Moscow wants to increase its security in the area.
Putin said: “On my instructions, the Russian military space forces begin patrolling on a permanent basis in the neutral zone of airspace over the Black Sea. And our MIG 31 aircraft are armed with Kinzhal complexes.”
The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal is a Russian ballistic hypersonic missile. Putin said it can reach speeds of Mach 9 and has a range of 1,000 kilometres (621 miles).
Russian reports have previously claimed that the weapon can reach up to 2,000 kilometres (1,242 miles) and evade all existing air defence systems.
Putin said that the missiles were not a threat and that Russia would monitor the situation in the Mediterranean.
The move is likely to increase the chance of mistakes in the area where NATO forces also operate. In March, a Russian fighter jet damaged an American MQ-9 Reaper drone causing it to crash into the Black Sea.
The announcement comes following several devastating strikes on Russia’s Black Sea fleet carried out by Ukraine. One strike hit a kilo-class submarine while another hit the headquarters of the fleet killing several officers.
Russia is likely trying to ramp up security in the region following the humiliating attacks.
Ukraine and Russia are both attempting to strike a serious blow on the battlefield before the approaching winter weather degrades fighting conditions.
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