The Kh-101 cruise missile carries a warhead with 450 kilograms of high explosive

The powerful cruise missile used by Russia to attack a children's hospital in Ukraine

Today Russia has again attacked civilian targets in Ukraine, including a children's hospital in kyiv causing dozens of deaths.

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Since the beginning of the invasion on February 24, 2022, Russia has been launching indiscriminate air strikes against the Ukrainian civilian population. These are attacks that clearly constitute war crimes under the Geneva Convention, since there is no type of military presence in the civilian targets attacked by Russia. Furthermore, Russian forces are displaying complete disregard for where their missiles land.

Russia has been denying responsibility for these attacks against civilian facilities, systematically blaming Ukraine under the theory that these attacks would actually be the product of the fall of Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles. The evidence against these Russian claims is abundant, but the Kremlin continues to lie. Today, in a statement released by the official Russian agency Tass, Russia's Defense Ministry has once again denied the evidence, stating that its forces"carried out a high-precision strike on Ukrainian defense industry sites and air bases".

The Kremlin also states: "Numerous photo and video reports from Kiev, which have been made public, make it clear that damage was done by a falling Ukrainian air defense missile launched from a missile system deployed within the city limits." This statement is not only false, but it is also loaded with cynicism.

Today, defense expert Fabian Hoffmann, from the University of Oslo, has published this video of the attack recorded at the precise moment in which a missile fell on the Okhmatdyt children's hospital:

Hoffman has pointed out that the image "clearly" demonstrates that it is a Kh-101 missile, as can be seen from several of its characteristics: a TRDD-50A turbofan engine in its rear section, relatively long wings in its middle section and a blunted nose. No Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile has this characteristic appearance.

Russia has used these missiles in the Syrian War and also it has been using them in its attacks against Ukraine. The Kh-101, known as the AS-23 "Kodiak", was introduced by the USSR in the 1980s to replace the Kh-55 (below these lines), which had a similar appearance, with the turbofan engine at the back, but a more rounded nose.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) notes the following about the Kh-101: "It travels on a low altitude flight path beneath infrared and radar systems, and its use of radar absorbing composite material makes the missile challenging to detect. Its accuracy is also believed to be quite high, employing the electronic GLONASS satellite navigation (the Russian equivalent to GPS) and TV terminal guidance." So, with that guidance system, the Russians knew perfectly well what was attacking, but they were not worried.

CSIS adds: "The Kh-101/-102 ALCM is 7.45 m in length and 0.51 m in diameter. At launch the missile weighs 2,300-2,400 kg and is fired without a booster, using the launching aircraft’s momentum at release to give it initial velocity. The missile uses a TRDD-50A turbofan engine, giving it a cruising speed of Mach 0.58 and a maximum speed of Mach 0.78. The range of the Kh-101/-102 is reported to be between 2,500 km and 2,800 km, although unconfirmed reports by the Russian Ministry of Defense claim its maximum range is 4,500 km."

The same source points out that the Kh-101 cruise missile is launched from Tu-160 "Blackjack" bombers, Tu-95MS16 "Bear-H", Tu-22M3/5 "Backfire C" and Su -27IB (Su-32) "Flanker". On the other hand, this type of missile carries a 450-kilogram conventional warhead and can be equipped with high-explosive warheads, penetrating or cluster/submunition warheads. In turn, the Kh-102 variant carries a 250 kiloton nuclear warhead, but some sources indicate that the warhead could be larger, up to 450 kilotons.

CSIS notes that the probable circular error of the Kh-101/-102 has been reported as 6 meters, "but is generally stated to be between 10 and 20 m". Using a weapon of this power to attack civilian targets in a city is a clear case of war crime. Having attacked a children's hospital with such a powerful missile demonstrates the extent of the inhumanity of Russian terrorism in Ukraine.


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