Ukraine claimed to have shot down Russian hypersonic missiles Kinzhals using American Patriot missile defense systems, while Russia countered by saying they destroyed a Patriot missile defense shield.
On Tuesday, Ukraine claimed to have shot down a volley of Russian hypersonic missiles. (Photo: Reuters)
On Tuesday, Ukraine made the unprecedented claim of shooting down six Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missiles in a single night, effectively countering a superweapon that Moscow had boasted as “unstoppable.”
This marks the first instance of Ukraine successfully intercepting a volley of multiple hypersonic missiles, showcasing the efficacy of recently deployed Western air defenses in the Ukrainian forces’ arsenal.
Air raid sirens blared across Ukraine for over three hours, including Kyiv, as Russia fired a volley of 18 missiles, including six Kinzhals, at the country. However, Ukraine claimed to have successfully intercepted all the Russian missiles, with General Serhiy Naev stating that everything was under control.
Russia countered by claiming they destroyed a US-built Patriot missile defense system with a Kinzhal missile. Three people in Kyiv were injured by falling debris.
Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s city military administration, described the recent missile attack as exceptionally dense, with the maximum number of attack missiles launched in a short period.
The Russian ministry claimed the attacks targeted Ukrainian fighting units and ammunition storage sites. Ukrainian forces, led by Zaluzhnyi, reported successfully intercepting six Kinzhals, nine Kalibr cruise missiles, and three Iskanders.
Ukraine had previously shot down a single Kinzhal missile using a newly deployed US Patriot air defense system. The Kinzhal missile, capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads up to 2,000 km, has been used by Russia in Ukraine and showcased by Putin as a formidable weapon against NATO.
As Ukrainian forces gear up for their first offensive in six months, Russia has intensified its long-range air strikes, reaching the highest frequency seen during the war. In this month alone, Russia has launched eight drone and missile volleys, a significant increase compared to weekly attacks during the winter and a period of relative calm in March and April. However, Kyiv claims to have successfully intercepted the majority of these attacks.
RUSSIA EXPERIENCED A WEEK OF SETBACKS AND REVERSALS
In the past week, Ukrainian forces have achieved their most significant gains on the battlefield since November, reclaiming several square kilometers of territory on the outskirts of Bakhmut. While Russia has admitted to some troop retreats, it denies that its battle lines are crumbling.
Kyiv emphasizes that these gains are localized and not representative of the full force of their upcoming counter-offensive, which will utilize the modern tanks and armored vehicles provided by Western allies this year.
The anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive marks the next major phase of the war, following a large-scale Russian winter offensive that failed to capture substantial new territory despite intense ground combat, making it the deadliest since World War II.
In February of last year, Moscow initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and claims to have annexed approximately one-sixth of its neighbor’s territory. Despite initial resistance from Ukraine, pushing back Russian troops near Kyiv, and reclaiming territory in two counteroffensives in the latter half of 2022, Ukraine has been on the defensive since November.
Russia justifies its invasion as a response to the perceived security threat posed by Kyiv’s close ties with the West, while Ukraine and its allies view it as an unprovoked and illegal war of conquest, vowing to continue fighting until all Russian troops leave their land.
In the meantime, European leaders gathered in Iceland for a two-day Council of Europe summit to demonstrate support for Ukraine.
The leaders are expected to approve a new Register of Damages, aimed at documenting and recording evidence and claims of damage, loss, or injury resulting from the Russian invasion. Notable attendees include Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Britain’s Rishi Sunak, and French President Emmanuel Macron, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address the summit via video link.