(Kyiv) Ukraine said on Saturday that it shot down a Russian hypersonic missile of the Kinjal type for the first time during strikes carried out by Moscow overnight from Wednesday to Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called it, when he unveiled the Kinjal missile in 2018, “an ideal weapon” because it was very difficult for opposing defenses to intercept.

“I congratulate the people of Ukraine on this historic event,” General Mykola Oleshchuk said on Telegram. “Yes, we shot down the Kinjal missile, which has no equal,” he rejoiced.

According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the missile was shot down by a Patriot air defense system over Kyiv around 2:30 a.m. local time Thursday (7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Wednesday).

Ukraine has asked its Western allies to help it strengthen its air defense system. Throughout the winter, Moscow had indeed bombarded its energy infrastructure.

And in mid-April, Kyiv received its first Patriots, considered one of the most advanced air defense systems.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Patriots would “significantly” strengthen Ukraine’s defenses against Russian strikes.

A senior Russian official said on Saturday that a Ukrainian ballistic missile was shot down over annexed Crimea, a rare occurrence as an upcoming offensive by Ukrainian forces looms.

“Air defenses shot down over the Republic of Crimea a ballistic missile fired from a Ukrainian Grom-2 system. No destruction, no casualties,” Sergei Aksionov, head of Crimea installed by Moscow, said on Telegram.

One of his advisers, Oleg Kryuchkov, later claimed that two Grom-2 missiles had been shot down, according to updated information.

AFP was unable to confirm these statements from an independent source.

According to the Russian state news agency TASS, this is only the second time that the use of Ukrainian Grom ballistic missiles has been reported by authorities over Crimea. The first report dated back to last month.

Since the summer of 2022, Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, has been regularly hit by explosions and attacks by aerial drones, and sometimes surface (naval) drones.

The leader of the paramilitary group Wagner asked the Russian Defense Minister on Saturday to hand over Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s troops to their positions in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmout, which he announced he would leave soon to protest against a lack of ammunition.

“I ask you to issue an order of battle on the transfer, before midnight on May 10, of the positions of the Wagner group to the units of the Akhmat battalion in the locality of Bakhmout and its surroundings,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a published letter. by its press service addressed to the Russian Minister of Defence, Sergei Shoigu.

Wagner’s chief said he made the request “due to a long shortage of ammunition”, accusing the general staff of having provided him with only 32% of the ammunition requested since last October.

The day before, Mr. Prigojine threatened to withdraw his troops next week from the city of Bakhmout, the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine, accusing the Russian general staff of depriving him of ammunition.

On Telegram, the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov then affirmed Friday evening that his fighters were ready to occupy the Russian positions in the city, if the Wagner group indeed withdrew its units.

“Our fighters are ready to advance and occupy the city. It would take a few hours,” Ramzan Kadyrov said, noting that his troops had already fought alongside Wagner’s in the Ukrainian cities of Popasna, Sievierodonetsk and Lissychansk, captured by Russia.

On Saturday morning, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a separate message, thanked Mr. Kadyrov for his proposal, assuring that Bakhmout, which has been resisting Russian assaults since last summer, would be “undoubtedly taken” by Chechen troops.

Wagner’s chief has for months accused the Russian general staff of not providing enough ammunition to his men to deprive them of a victory at Bakhmout, which would overshadow the regular army.

Russian nationalist writer Zakhar Prilepin, a staunch supporter of the Kremlin attack on Ukraine, was injured in his car ‘explosion’ in Russia on Saturday, an attack Moscow accuses Ukraine and the West of being behind. originally.

Russian authorities announced on Saturday that they had opened a “terrorist act” investigation and arrested a suspect.

In a statement, the Investigation Committee announced the opening of this investigation, stating that the driver of the writer had been killed in the attack. For its part, the Interior Ministry said that a man “who could be linked to the explosion” had been arrested in the Nizhny Novgorod region, where the incident took place.

The attack, which killed another person, authorities said, comes amid a wave of attacks affecting the country.

In recent weeks, drone strikes, sabotage and suspected attacks have multiplied on Russian territory. The Kremlin accuses Kyiv as a major offensive by the Ukrainian armed forces looms and the great celebrations in Russia of May 9, the day of victory over Hitler.

“One person was killed by the explosion, and the writer Zakhar Prilepin, who was in the car, was injured,” the Interior Ministry’s press service said.

Anonymous medical and security sources, quoted by Russian news agencies, claim that the writer was injured in the legs.

“Zakhar [Prilepin] has minor fractures, there is no danger to his life,” the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region (center-west), where the incident took place, assured on Telegram. where the writer is from.

From the first reports of the incident, the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova, accused Ukraine, the United States, Great Britain and NATO of being behind this “terrorist” act. “Direct responsibility of the United States and Great Britain.” We pray for Zakhar,” she wrote on Telegram.

According to the Investigation Committee, the writer was in his car “with his family” when the explosion occurred.

A photo from the scene of the incident, released by the Investigation Committee, shows a white vehicle with the front end shredded and overturned on its roof, in front of a crater on a dirt road, in a wooded area.