Russian warship armed with hypersonic missiles that 'can beat any defence system' set to pass through English Channel

5 January 2023, 12:39

The Admiral Gorshkov
The Admiral Gorshkov. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Kit Heren

A Russian warship equipped with missiles that can travel several times faster than the speed of sound is set to pass through the English Channel on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that the Admiral Gorshkov frigate had set sail, armed with hypersonic Zircon missiles.

Mr Putin did not give a specific reason for the departure, saying that the battleship would serve to protect Russia "from potential external threats and would advance national interests”.

This is the first Russian warship to have hypersonic missiles, and Putin described the launch as "an important and even a landmark event".

The Admiral Gorshkov
The Admiral Gorshkov. Picture: Alamy

Appearing with Mr Putin in the announcement video, defence minister Sergei Shoigu said that the weapons can beat any missile defence system in the world, and have a range of 1,000 miles.

He added: "In exercises, there will be training for the crew on deploying hypersonic weapons and long-range cruise missiles".

Mr Shoigu said that the Admiral Gorshkov will travel through the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, as well as to the Mediterranean.

Foreign ships are allowed to pass through the waters of any coastal country, according to the UN convention on laws of the sea - as long as they do not threaten the peace in that country.

Despite their boasting of military might, neither Mr Putin nor Mr Shoigu addressed the Ukrainian attack that killed at least 89 members of the Russian army in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Mr Putin during the video conference with defence minister Sergei Shoigu
Mr Putin during the video conference with defence minister Sergei Shoigu. Picture: Getty

Russian officials earlier blamed the attack, which saw Ukrainian missiles hit a vocational college in Makiivka, in the Russian-occupied region of Donetsk, on soldiers having their mobile phones turned on, allowing the opposition forces to work out their position.

The college was being used to train Russian conscripts.

Read more: Russia blames Ukraine attack that killed 89 soldiers on troops having their phones switched on

Read more: Russia suffers heavy losses trying to take Ukrainian ‘fortress’ town of Bakhmut as offensive slows

General Lieutenant Sergei Sevryukov said that phone signals allowed Kyiv's forces to "determine the coordinates of the location of military personnel" and launch the deadly strike.

He said measures were being taken to "prevent similar tragic incidents in the future" and promised to punish officials responsible for the failure.

Russians in the city of Samara mourning the deaths of soldiers in Makiivka
Russians in the city of Samara mourning the deaths of soldiers in Makiivka in eastern Ukraine. Picture: Getty

It comes as Russia is expected to launch a second wave of mobilisation, in a desperate attempt to swing in its favour a war that has descended into a bloody stalemate in the east of Ukraine.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday: "We have no doubt that the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can round up to turn the tide of the war and at least delay their defeat."

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