Ukraine’s air force claimed Saturday to have downed a Russian hypersonic missile over Kyiv using newly acquired American Patriot defense systems, the first known time the country has been able to intercept one of Moscow’s most modern missiles.
Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk said in a Telegram post that the Kinzhal-type ballistic missile had been intercepted in an overnight attack on the Ukrainian capital earlier in the week. It was also the first time Ukraine is known to have used the Patriot defense systems.
“Yes, we shot down the ‘unique’ Kinzhal,” Oleshchuk wrote. “It happened during the night-time attack on May 4 in the skies of the Kyiv region.”
Oleshchuk said the Kh-47 missile was launched by a MiG-31K aircraft from Russian territory and was shot down with a Patriot missile.
The Kinzhal is one of the latest and most advanced Russian weapons. The Russian military says the air-launched ballistic missile has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles) and flies at 10 times the speed of sound, making it hard to intercept.
A combination of hypersonic speed and a heavy warhead allows the Kinzhal to destroy heavily fortified targets, like underground bunkers or mountain tunnels.
The Ukrainian military has previously admitted lacking assets to intercept the Kinzhals.
“They were saying that the Patriot is an outdated American weapon, and Russian weapons are the best in the world,” Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said on Ukraine’s Channel 24 television. “Well, there is confirmation that it effectively works against even a super-hypersonic missile.” Ihnat said. [Continue reading…]