Loss of modern hypersonic missiles over Ukraine is forcing Russia to change the way it uses these weapons. Russia can manufacture Kinzhal missiles, while their intimidating effect has lessened, Estonian experts find.
It came as an unpleasant surprise to the Russian command when its fabled Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles failed to hit targets in Ukraine and were instead shot down. They are trying to come up with new uses for the missiles, Lt. Col. Tanel Lelov, head of the air defense department of the Estonian Division Headquarters, finds.
"The presence or air defense units in the area was expected. We can speculate that they were aimed there in order to test the systems and make sure whether the Kinzhal is in fact invincible or not," the colonel said.
Security expert Rainer Saks pointed out that Russia currently has a negative view of its own capacity. The Ukrainians shot down the first Kinzhal missile a few weeks ago, while Russia recently lost fighters and helicopters all in the same day, which was followed by important objects hit in Luhansk. The recent KInzhal attack was an attempt to retake the strategic initiative. It failed.
"A part of deterrence ceased to exist for Russia. And it constitutes a very serious setback. Not just in the Ukraine war context, but more broadly. Russia no longer has the means necessary to deliver a nuclear strike," Saks said.
Lt. Col. Lelov said that Russia can manufacture around 10 Kinzhal missiles a month. But a part of the fear factor of these weapons has disappeared," Saks added.
Editor: Marcus Turovski