Russia's Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile Hits US-Made Patriot Defense Shield in Kyiv

One of the two US-made Patriot missile defense systems deployed in Kyiv is likely damaged, reducing Ukraine's ability to defend the capital city against increasing Russian missile attacks, according to multiple reports.

On Tuesday Russia said that a high-precision strike by the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system in the city of Kyiv hit a US-made Patriot anti-aircraft missile system. Though the Ukrainian official said the defense forces intercepted six hypersonic missiles fired by the Russians, the military could not decisively rule out damage to the defense umbrella that guards the capital.

Patriot Missile Defense System
Japan has already deployed Patriot Missile Defense System to fend off attacks from North Korea Wikimedia Commons

US Acknowledges Damage

"We cannot comment on this. We'll stay out of commenting on Russian sources," the Ukrainian Air Force spokesman said in response to a question, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, US officials acknowledged that a Patriot system in Kyiv suffered damage in the Russian attack. Washington and Kyiv are discussing how to fix the damaged system, two Us official with knowledge of the situation said, according to Reuters.

If the key defense equipment is damaged or destroyed, Ukraine will find it hard to defend the capital against increasing Russian attacks using hypersonic missiles. The Patriot defense shield a highly advanced US air defense system and it can protect against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.


Two Systems in Kyiv

Ukraine has deployed two Patriot air defense systems in the country. One of them was provided by the US, while the other was donated jointly by Germany and the Netherlands. The CNN report says it is not clear which of these was damaged in the Russian strike.

Earlier this month as well, Russia had tried to take down the Patriot defense systems in Kyiv. The attack on May 4 using hypersonic missiles did not succeed as the Ukrainians intercepted the missile.

Interestingly, the Patriot systems had arrived in Ukraine only last month, and the US experts had spent weeks equipping the Ukrainians with the knowledge on operating and maintaining the complex system.

Extensive Repairs Needed

According to the CNN report, if extensive damage was done to the system, the Ukrainians will have to take the system offline and even send it back to the US for repairs. The report adds that the system is a complex one with generators, a radar set, a control station, antennas, a launcher station and interceptor missiles. If any of these components suffered major damage the system will have to undergo extensive repairs.

Kyiv attack

If Russia has been able to take down a Patriot system, it means that Ukraine's ability to offer significant countermeasure against Russia's barrage of hypersonic missiles is seriously limited.

The US and Ukraine had talked up the utility of the Patriot and the speed with which the Ukrainians mastered its use. On May 8, Ukrainian media reported that the Patriot air defense system was used to destroy Russia's potent Kh-47 Kinzhal ballistic missile.

"The fact that this intercept was conducted by a Ukrainian crew that was trained in Oklahoma, but had no U.S. advisers on the battlefield, is even more of a feather in the cap for the Pentagon," the Kyiv Independent quoted a military source as saying.