A US-supplied Patriot air defence system was damaged on Tuesday in Kyiv, informs “The Telegraph” from London.
The $1 billion (£800.8 million) weapon, the most advanced of its kind produced by the West, was part of a protective barrier on the city.
It was the first time the Ukrainian capital’s air defences had been tested by an entire volley of Kinzhal missiles, the jewel in the crown of Moscow’s long-range arsenal.
The Kinzhals, or ‘daggers’, were fired in a salvo of 18 projectiles including nine cruise missiles, with many arriving simultaneously in an effort to overwhelm the city’s defences.
Russia’s defence ministry later claimed that its barrage had destroyed a Patriot air defence system.
Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for Russia’s defence ministry, said a Patriot had been destroyed with a Kinzhal missile during the attack.
“According to verified information, as a result of a strike by the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system in the city of Kiev a multifunctional radar station, as well as five launchers of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system manufactured by the United States were hit and completely destroyed on May 16, 2023,” the Russian Defense Ministry said
Dramatic footage shared on social media on Tuesday appeared to show the moment an unidentified surface-to-air missile system, possibly the Patriot, fired more than 20 times in two minutes in Kyiv, notes ‘The Telegraph’.
If the rockets were fired from a Patriot, Kyiv could have racked up a bill close to €150m (£130.5m), with each missile costing around €4 million.
One after another, bright flashes illuminated the night skies above the Ukrainian capital as rockets raced upwards to intercept their targets.
At the end of one video clip shared from the barrage on Tuesday, there appeared to be an explosion and bright flash without a rocket launched into the sky from the Patriot missile battery.
“Maybe it was hit by something,” Justin Crump, a military analyst at the intelligence consultancy Sibylline, said , “but it’s not going to end the air defence of Kyiv. We’ll probably won’t ever know the full detail, but what we definitely didn’t see was lots of Kinzhal landing,” he added.
In recent weeks, it has appeared that Russian forces have aimed their attacks at the air-defence systems shooting down their rockets.
While Kiev claimed ‘it had intercepted six Kinzhals,’ Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told Sputnik in an interview that Ukrainian reports are mistaken in every regard, noting that only a couple of Russian missiles were enough to penetrate Kiev’s defenses.