In a significant tactical shift, Russian forces have reportedly deployed their formidable Kinzhal hypersonic missile from a Su-34 fighter bomber in Ukraine, marking the first instance of such an operation. This development has raised questions about the evolving strategy of the Kremlin in the ongoing conflict. The Kinzhal, also known as the “Dagger” or “Killjoy,” had become a regular feature of Russian missile strikes on Ukraine since the invasion began in February 2022. However, it was predominantly launched from the Soviet-era MiG-31K aircraft. This recent deployment hints at a broader adaptation of Russia’s air force capabilities.

Expanding Kinzhal’s Reach: The Su-34’s Unconventional Role

According to the Kremlin-backed TASS news agency, the Su-34 aircraft carried out the Kinzhal hypersonic missile strike. This marks a significant departure from the conventional mode of deployment, as the missile had previously been associated primarily with the MiG-31K platform.