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Putin blitzes Kyiv with 9,200mph ‘Dagger’ hypersonic missiles just hours before Nato chiefs arrive for landmark visit

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VLADIMIR Putin has blitzed Kyiv with 9,200mph “Dagger” hypersonic missiles just hours before NATO chiefs were due to visit.

Russia is believed to have fired 31 ballistic and cruise missiles before dawn on Thursday, marking their first attack on the Ukrainian capital in six weeks.

Putin fired his 7,600mph 'Dagger' missiles on Kyiv on Thursday morning

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Putin fired his 7,600mph ‘Dagger’ missiles on Kyiv on Thursday morningCredit: TV Zvezda
Ukraine defence systems managed to shoot them all down but craters were left in the city

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Ukraine defence systems managed to shoot them all down but craters were left in the cityCredit: Reuters
No deaths were recorded but Kyiv now has a fresh bomb site

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No deaths were recorded but Kyiv now has a fresh bomb siteCredit: Reuters
Moscow previously claimed the deadly missiles cannot be stopped by western defence systems
Moscow previously claimed the deadly missiles cannot be stopped by western defence systems

It’s claimed two ballistic missiles and 29 cruise missiles made up the numbers after Putin vowed retribution for escalating strikes on Russia’s border regions.

Amongst them were supersonic missiles known as “The Dagger”, a £4.5million remotely piloted weapon that can travel at 12 times the speed of sound.

Moscow previously claimed its deadly “Kinzhal'” rockets, as they are also known, cannot be stopped by western missile defence systems.

Boasting a range of 1,250 miles, Putin himself once labelled them “an ideal weapon”.

However, Ukrainian air defences managed to shoot down all the incoming missiles, though 13 people including a child were injured by falling wreckage.

It wasn’t the first time Putin had suffered such humiliation, after Ukraine previously claimed all six of his “unstoppable” Kinzhal missiles in May last year.

Nonetheless, residents of Kyiv were woken up by loud explosions around 5am as the missiles arrived at roughly the same time from different directions, said Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv City Administration.

An 11-year-old girl and a 38-year-old man were hospitalised in Kyiv, the city administration said.

Eight other people sustained light injuries, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Ukraine’s Emergency Service said around 80 people were evacuated from their homes.

Ukraine hits Russia with wave missiles and drones as another IL-76 crashes in flames: The Frontline

Falling wreckage from the intercepted missiles set fire to at least one apartment building, burned parked cars and left craters in streets and a small park.

Some streets were littered with debris, including glass from shattered windows.

On Wednesday, President Putin threatened to respond in kind to Ukrainian aerial attacks on Russia’s Belgorod region near the border with Ukraine in recent days.

At an event in the Kremlin, Putin said Russia can respond in the same way regarding civilian infrastructure and all other objects of this kind that the enemy attacks.

“We have our own views on this matter and our own plans. We will follow what we have outlined,” he said.

Kyiv has better air defences than most regions of the country, so missile interception rate is frequently high.

As a result, Russian attacks on the capital are significantly less successful than during the early days of the war.

Even so, Ukrainian officials warn that they need considerably more Western weapons if they are to prevail against Russia’s invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the country’s Western partners to send more air defence systems so they can be distributed across the country where missile strikes have become more common.

“Every day, every night such … terror happens,” he said on Telegram after Thursdays attack on Kyiv. “World unity is capable to stop it by helping us with more air defence systems.”

Zelensky said Russia doesn’t have missiles that can evade US-made Patriots and other advanced air defence weapons.

Survivors of the attack, some of them in tears and visibly shaken as emergency workers treated them in the street, recounted narrow escapes.

Raisa Kozenko, a 71-year-old whose apartment lost its doors and windows in the blast, said her son jumped out of bed just in time.

“He was covered in blood, in the rubble,” she said, trembling from shock. “And all I can say is … the apartment is completely destroyed.”

Mariia Margulis, 31, said a decision to stay in the corridor throughout the attack saved her family.

An explosion of a missile is seen in the sky over the Kiev

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An explosion of a missile is seen in the sky over the KievCredit: Reuters
Rescuers work to put out fires caused by the attack

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Rescuers work to put out fires caused by the attackCredit: Reuters
Charred cars lined the streets following the impact of missile debris

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Charred cars lined the streets following the impact of missile debrisCredit: Reuters

“The blast wave blew out all the windows on the side where everything happened,” she said. “My mum was supposed to sleep in that room, but I asked her to move to the corridor in time, which saved us.”

The attack occurred hours after a visit to Kyiv by President Joe Biden’s top foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan.

Sullivan said he could not predict when the much-needed aid from Washington would be approved.

“I’m not going to make predictions about exactly when this will get done, but we are working to get it done as soon as possible… but I cannot make a specific prediction today,” he told reporters.

The strike also happened to take place just hours before the visit of NATO chief Rob Bauer.

The chair of NATO’S Military Committee had flown to meet with the Ukrainian political and military leadership.

“My arrival is the first NATO military delegation to visit Ukraine since the full-scale invasion and is a testament to the fact that NATO and Ukraine are closer than ever,” he said, Pravda report.

“Every day, we are getting closer, more compatible. Together, we are doing everything to ensure that Ukraine becomes a member of our Alliance.

“The Swedish flag will not be the only blue and yellow flag at NATO Headquarters.”

European Union leaders were also considering new ways to help boost arms and ammunition production for Ukraine at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Russia has largely turned its attention to other Ukrainian cities, of late, targeting them with drones and ballistic missiles.

On Wednesday, ballistic missiles killed five people and injured nine in the eastern Kharkiv region, while strikes on southern Odesa last week killed 21.

Yet Russia suffered further humiliation when anti-Putin partisans ambushed soldiers before eliminating elite Spetsnaz commandos with drones on Thursday.

The daring raid took place in Kozinka, a rural locality in Belgorod Oblast, where Russian troops hid inside a residential building after being surrounded.

Putin demanded a response to recent attacks from Ukraine

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Putin demanded a response to recent attacks from UkraineCredit: AP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the country's Western partners to send more air defence systems

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the country’s Western partners to send more air defence systemsCredit: Alamy
The attack took place just hours before NATO chief Rob Bauer visited the Ukrainian capital

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The attack took place just hours before NATO chief Rob Bauer visited the Ukrainian capitalCredit: Getty

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