Ukraine downs Russian hypersonic missile during attack on Kyiv – National

The Ukrainian Air Force on Saturday claimed it used newly acquired American Patriot defense systems to shoot down a Russian hypersonic missile over Kiev. This is the first known time the country has been able to intercept one of Moscow’s most modern missiles.

Air Force Commander Mykola Oreschuk said in a Telegram post that a Kinzhal-type ballistic missile was intercepted in an overnight strike on the Ukrainian capital earlier this week. This was the first time I had been there.

“Yes, we shot down the ‘unique’ Kinzhal,” Oreshchuk wrote. “It happened during a night attack on May 4 in the skies of the Kiev area.”

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Oleshchuk said the Kh-47 missiles were launched by MiG-31K aircraft from Russian territory and shot down by Patriot missiles.

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The Kinzhal is one of Russia’s newest and most advanced weaponry. According to the Russian military, air-launched ballistic missiles have a range of up to 2,000 km (about 1,250 miles) and fly at speeds ten times the speed of sound, making them difficult to intercept.

The combination of hypersonic speed and heavy warhead allows the Kinzhal to destroy highly fortified targets such as bunkers and mountain tunnels.

The Ukrainian military has previously admitted that it lacks the resources to intercept Kinzhal.

“They said the Patriot was an outdated American weapon and that Russian weapons were the best in the world,” Air Force spokesman Yury Inat told Ukrainian Channel 24 television. . “Well, we’ve already confirmed that hypersonic missiles are effective,” Inato said.

He said the successful interception of Kinzhal was “a slap in the face for Russia”.

Ukraine made its first delivery of Patriot missiles in late April. The number of systems it has or where they are deployed is not specified, but they are known to have come from the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Germany and the United States have each admitted to sending at least one battery, and the Netherlands has said it provided two launchers, although it is not clear how many are currently in operation.

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The Ukrainian military has the extensive training necessary to enable the system to effectively locate targets, lock onto radar and fire. Up to 90 people are required to operate and maintain each battery.

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Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said he requested the Patriot system for the first time during his visit to the United States in August 2021. This was months before Russia’s full-scale invasion and he came seven years after Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

He described owning the system as a “dream” but said he was told at the time that it was impossible in the United States.

Patriots were first deployed by the United States in the 1980s. Analysts say the system costs about $4 million per missile, and the launchers about $10 million each.

At such a cost, it was widely believed that Ukraine would only use the Patriot against Russian aircraft or hypersonic missiles.

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In a Telegram post on Saturday, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valery Zarzny said he thanked US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley for the ongoing US support for Ukraine.

Zaluzhnyi also said he briefed Milley on the “frontline situation and preparations” for the Ukrainian counterattack against Russia.

Ukraine has not revealed when it will launch a counterattack, but it is widely expected this spring.

In an interview with Foreign Affairs Magazine this week, Millie said he wouldn’t speculate about whether or when it would come, but with NATO support, nine brigades of combined arms, armored and mechanized infantry said it would help train and equip Now have the ability to attack.

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He also said their defensive capabilities were “significantly stronger than they were just a year ago.”

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“I don’t want to suggest that they may or may not carry out offensive operations in the coming weeks,” he said. “It’s up to them. They have to do a fair amount of planning and coordination and all of that if they’re going to have an offensive operation. But they’re ready to attack or defend.”

In other developments, Russian and Ukrainian officials said they had conducted another regular exchange of prisoners of war.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it had brought back three military pilots to Russia, and Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said 45 fighters guarding the Azovstar steelworks in Mariupol had returned to Ukraine. said it was.

Also on Saturday, Ukrainian special operations forces accused Russia of using phosphorous ammunition to wrest control of the eastern city of Bakhmut from Ukrainian forces.

Russian forces have been trying to capture the city for more than nine months, but Ukrainian forces are still clinging to their positions on the western outskirts.

On Saturday, Ukrainian newspaper Pravda, citing military sources, said, “The enemy used phosphorus and incendiary bombs in Bakhmut to try to wipe the city off the surface.”

Photographs accompanying the newspaper report showed the city lit in several places.

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We were unable to independently verify the allegations.

The Russian military has not commented on the allegations, but has denied previous accusations from Ukraine of using phosphorus.

International law prohibits the use of white phosphorous and other incendiary munitions (munitions designed to set fire to or burn objects) in areas where civilian populations may be concentrated. increase.

White phosphorus can also be used to create lighting and smoke screens.

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