Ukraine's Zelenskyy mocks Russian claims of a drone-killing laser, saying the 'wonder weapon' is a sign Putin's war is a 'complete failure'

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a press conference with international media in an underground metro station in Kyiv on April 23, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a press conference with international media in an underground metro station in Kyiv on April 23, 2022.Photo by GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images
  • Russia claims that it has a new laser weapon that can cook drones over three miles away in seconds.

  • A senior US defense official said there was nothing to corroborate these claims.

  • Ukraine's president ridiculed the Russian claims, comparing them to those of Nazi Germany.

A senior Russian official claimed this week that the Russian military had deployed a powerful laser weapon system in Ukraine that can incinerate a drone miles away in a matter of seconds, a capability for which the US Defense Department has seen no evidence. The Ukrainian president also responded, saying wild claims like these highlight how poorly the war is going for the Russians.

Yury Borisov, the Russian deputy prime overseeing defense developments, told Russian media Wednesday that the first prototypes of a new laser weapon known as Zadira are being used in Ukraine and that one successfully took out an unmanned aerial vehicle just over three miles away in five seconds in a recent test, per Reuters.

He said the weapon was more powerful than the Peresvet laser that he says can blind satellites and that Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously touted alongside other new Russian weapons, most of which are not currently operational.

"If Peresvet blinds, then the new generation of laser weapons lead to the physical destruction of the target,"  Borisov said. "They burn up."

Russia, which has struggled to achieve its objectives in Ukraine since it invaded without provocation in late February, has at times suffered losses due to Ukrainian drone warfare. The Turkish Bayraktar TB2, in particular, has been a headache for the invading Russian forces, who have faced significant Ukrainian resistance from the start.

A destroyed Russian tank seen with graffiti on it in Kyiv Oblast.
A destroyed Russian tank seen with graffiti on it in Kyiv Oblast.Photo by Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

While it would make sense for Russia to want to field a capable counter-drone system, a senior US defense official told reporters on Wednesday that the US has been unable to substantiate Borisov's claims, according to The Washington Post.

And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ridiculed the Russian claims of a new "wonder weapon" in an evening address, comparing Russia's propaganda and claims of a game-changing laser weapon to those of Nazi Germany.

"The clearer it became that they had no chance in the war, the more propaganda there was about an amazing weapon that would be so powerful as to ensure a turning point," he said, referring to the Nazi propagandists who hyped so-called "wunderwaffe" during World War II.

"We see that in the third month of a full-scale war, Russia is trying to find its 'wonder weapon,'" he said. "This all clearly shows the complete failure of the mission."

Though Russia was largely expected to achieve victory over Ukrainian forces in a matter of weeks, if not days, the Russian forces have experienced setback after setback.

There have been reports of Russian troops surrendering without a fight, sabotaging their combat systems, and disobeying orders, Russian generals dying at alarming rates, and serious losses in poorly executed assaults. After the push on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv stalled, Russia was forced to redirect its efforts to fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Although Russia's war effort has faltered, a senior US defense official said Thursday that Russian still has a "significant" amount of combat capability left to throw into the already brutal conflict. "This could be a prolonged fight," the official said.

Read the original article on Business Insider