Putin unleashes ‘Dagger’ hypersonic missile in latest war games ahead of Biden summit

RUSSIA has released footage of its latest war-games in a strong signal to the West ahead of talks between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden in Geneva.

The video comes a day before the two leader meet for a private conversation regarding cyber attacks and their countries' icy relationship.

The clip shows the 'Dagger' rocket and air defence missile system being unleashed from a nuclear-powered missile cruiser in the Barents Sea. 

More than 20 warships and submarines, plus some ten aircraft and helicopters practice target training in the air, sea, coast, Russian news channel TV Zvezda said, in the biggest show of force yet to the West.

The Kinzhal – or Dagger –  missile can carry nuclear or conventional weapons. 

It has a range of  1,250 miles and has no match in the West, according to Moscow. 

The Arctic drills were separate to the largest Russian naval exercises in the Pacific since the end of the Cold War held around the same time.

Putin has this year ordered a succession of military exercises across Russia’s eleven time zones amid the highest tension between East and West since the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago. 

In another move bound to unease Western governments, Russia is due to stage a new test of its deadly new Zircon hypersonic missile.

The Zircon – or Tsirkon – is a 6,100mph “unstoppable” cruise missile that is on track to be used by the Russian military next year.

Putin sees the lethal Mach 8 Zircon as his weapon of choice to target American cities in the event of a nuclear conflict, it has been reported.

The military manoeuvre comes as Putin and his US counterpart, President Biden, are set to discuss a range of issues on Wednesday.

The men are expected to talk about US concerns on Russian sabre-rattling on the Ukrainian border, the imprisonment of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, and Putin's support for Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko.

Washington has repeatedly accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 and 2020 US elections.

Earlier this year, Biden blacklisted six Russian technology companies for "carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 US presidential election, and other acts of disinformation and interference."

However, Putin called for the US and Russia to work together to fight cyberattacks, saying: "It is our great hope that we will be able to set up this process with our US partners."

Biden previously said that he believes Putin is a "killer," something that the Russian president denied ever speaking to the American about.

Separately, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces are this year reported to be conducting more than one military exercise every two days.

During the exercises led by flagship Peter the Great, air defence teams of the Northern Fleet’s naval task force shot down all cruise missiles launched against it during the drills in the Barents Sea.

The drills were to test the defences of the country’s “Arctic frontiers”, said a fleet spokesman.

"Overall, eight target missiles were launched towards the naval strike group, which were successfully shot down by the missile cruisers’ AK-130 and AK-630 artillery systems, Kinzhal and Osa-MA surface-to-air launchers.” 

Earlier the ships were ordered to repel high-speed air attacks simulated by Sukhoi Su-24 frontline bombers.

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