Mar 22, 2022 - World

Biden says Russian forces fired hypersonic missile in Ukraine

 President Joe Biden speaks while joining the Business Roundtable's chief executive officer quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 21.

President Biden at the Business Roundtable's chief executive officer quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Russia's military has used a hypersonic missile in Ukraine, President Biden confirmed Monday night.

Driving the news: Ukrainian forces are "wreaking havoc" on Russia's military and Russian President Vladimir "Putin's back is against the wall," Biden said at a Business Roundtable event after the White House.

What he's saying: "They've just launched their hypersonic missile because it's the only thing they can get through with absolute certainty," Biden said of Russian forces.

  • "As you all know, it's a consequential weapon ... but with the same warhead on it as any other launched missile. It doesn't make that much difference except it's almost impossible to stop it. There's a reason they're using it," he continued.
  • The more Putin's "back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ," Biden noted.

Between the lines: The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update Monday evening that Russian forces' claims of firing the "developmental Kinzhal" hypersonic missiles against targets in Western Ukraine were "highly likely intended to detract from a lack of progress in Russia’s ground campaign."

  • "Deployment of Kinzhal is highly unlikely to materially affect the outcome of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine," the defense ministry added.

What to watch: Russia's military is adjusting tactics to a new battlefield reality as the invasion enters a 27th day, and analysts are watching for signs that Putin is shifting his end game as well, Axios' Dave Lawler writes.

  • Biden told the roundtable that Putin was likely considering also launching chemical and cyberattacks.

Go deeper: Biden warns Russia "exploring options" for cyberattacks

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