A Russian newspaper, Izvestia, quotes an unnamed source in the Air and Space Defense command as saying that Russia will begin tests of the A-235 Samolyot-M missile defense system some time in 2013 and the new system is expected to enter service soon after the tests are completed. The source said that unlike the current A-135 system that relies on nuclear intercept, A-235 will have an interceptor with a hit-to-kill capability.

It's hard to say how credible the report is. As far as I can tell, development of a new short-range interceptor was indeed underway for some time - the December 2011 test was said to be that of a 53T6M interceptor missile (the currently deployed one is known as 53T6). Samolyet-M also appears to be a fairly active project. So, something is in the works.

The idea of an A-235 upgrade of the current A-135 system apparently has been around since at least the early 1980s, although it might have meant something different back then.

It is not entirely impossible that this interceptor could indeed directly hit the target - after all, the Soviet Union already demonstrated conventional kill intercept in 1961 (it was an intermediate range R-12 missile and a fragmentation warhead). Also, since the intercept is supposed to take place within the atmosphere, missile defense would not have to deal with the most difficult part of the job - warhead discrimination.

The upgrade is unlikely to significantly boost the capability of the Moscow missiles defense (which was fairly modest to begin with), but if it would mean retiring nuclear interceptors, it would certainly be a welcome development.