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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Ukraine humiliates Russia by shooting down hypersonic missiles

May 17, 2023

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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Ukrainian air defense units reportedly shot down a half-dozen of Russia’s highly-touted Kinzhal hypersonic missiles during a massive air strike on Kyiv. The missiles, considered to be one of the Russian army’s crown jewels, were intercepted by the U.S.-made Patriot missile system.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan says the incident is not only a big win for Ukraine but also a humiliating moment for Vladimir Putin.

Excerpted from Peter’s May 16 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter.

Russia launched a volley of missiles into Ukraine overnight, of which six were Kinzhals, aka Russia’s top-shelf hypersonic ballistic missiles. Reports coming out of Kyiv state that Ukraine was able to shoot down all the Kinzhals in the strike.

This is one of the most advanced weapons in Russia’s arsenal, and Ukrainian defenses were able to put them down with relative ease…talk about a shot to Putin’s ego. For anyone with looming concerns about a war with Russia, their coffee probably tasted a little bit better this morning.

Hey everyone, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from the Denver Airport. And today we’re talking about things that fly and explode. The good news out of Ukraine overnight, today is May 16, and overnight Ukrainian time, there was a fresh missile attack by the Russians, that 16 missiles, of which six were the new Kinzhals. Those are the supersonics that can go 10 times the speed of sound. According to the Ukrainians and according to satellite telemetry, all of them were shut down.
Now, the Kinzhal’s important because it’s got decent range, and because it’s super fast and supposedly can evade any sort of missile defense, and so for an entire flight of them to be shut down, even if the Ukrainians are lying, and the data graphs right now is right … even if it’s only half of them, it’s still a big deal. There’s only one Patriot missile defense battery in all of Kyiv, which means one of two things happened. Either number one, that that one Patriot stopped the entire flight, or the Kinzhals were more dispersed and non-Patriot systems took out the flight.
It really doesn’t matter which is true, because it means that the most lethal, most fastest, most advanced weapon in Russia’s arsenal can be taken out with actual relative ease.
And that means that if you are anyone who in the future might be facing down the Russian war machine, the Russians don’t have a quality advantage over you anymore. So pretty much any American defense installation, I don’t want to say they have nothing to fear from these things, but all of a sudden, the capacity of the Russians to get past American air defenses look significantly degraded. And the Russians don’t even have anything in development that is better than the Kinzhal at this point. So you know, take the good news were you can. That’s it for me today.

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