Ukraine used newly acquired American Patriot defense systems to shoot down a Russian hypersonic missile over Kyiv this week, its Air Force said Saturday.
It marked the first known time that Ukraine has been able to intercept one of Moscow’s most modern missiles — and the first time Ukraine is known to have used the Patriot defense systems.
￼￼ Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said in a post on the Telegram messaging app that the Kinzhal-type ballistic missile was intercepted Thursday during an overnight attack on the Ukrainian capital.
“Yes, we shot down the ‘unique’ Kinzhal,” Oleshchuk wrote. “It happened during the nighttime attack on May 4 in the skies of the Kyiv region.”
He added 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 has said the air-launched ballistic missile has a range of up to 1,250 miles and flies at 10 times the speed of sound, making it hard to intercept.
The Ukrainian military previously said it lacked the necessary 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“They were saying that the Patriot is an outdated American weapon, and Russian weapons are the best in the world,” Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat told Ukraine’s Channel 24 television. “Well, there is confirmation that it effectively works against even a super hypersonic missile.”
He said successfully intercepting the Kinzhal is “a slap in the face for Russia.”
Ukraine took its first delivery of the Patriot missiles in late April. It hasn’t specified how many of the systems it has or where they have been deployed, but it’s known that the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands provided them.
Germany and the U.S. acknowledged each sending at least one system and the Netherlands said it provided two.