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CNN: Patriot system might be damaged by Russian May 16 attack on Kyiv

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 16, 2023 9:41 PM 3 min read
A German-operated MIM-104 Patriot missile fires an interceptor missile during Operation Red Arrow exercise in Greece on October 15, 2008 (Peter Mueller/Bundeswehr)
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A U.S.-made Patriot air defense system was likely damaged in the Russian May 16 missile attack on Kyiv but not destroyed, as Russia previously claimed, an unnamed U.S. official told CNN.

Russian Defense Ministry said it allegedly struck a Patriot system with a Kinzhal ballistic missile overnight on May 16. However, Ukraine's Air Force reported destroying all Russian missiles targeting Ukraine during this attack, including six Kinzhals.

"We cannot comment on this. We'll stay out of commenting on Russian sources," the Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat told CNN about the Russian claim.

Air Force: Ukraine shoots down 18 Russian missiles overnight, including 6 Kinzhals
Ukrainian air defense successfully shot down all of the 18 Russian missiles targeting Ukraine overnight, including six Kinzhal ballistic missiles, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander in chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, and the Air Force reported on May 16.

According to the unnamed U.S. official, cited by CNN, the extent of the purported damage to the Patriot missile system is currently being assessed. The assessment is said to determine if the system can be repaired on-site or will have to be shipped back to the U.S.

The White House neither confirmed nor denied the information provided by CNN.

"I cannot confirm the reports about the Patriot system being damaged in Ukraine," National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on May 16.

"But if there was damage done that needed to be repaired outside Ukraine, we would certainly assist with that," he added.

There is no visual evidence of the reported damage to the Patriot system at the moment.  

Russia has targeted the American air defense system with hypersonic missiles before, including on May 4, U.S. officials told CNN. The attack was unsuccessful as the Ukrainian military managed to intercept the missile using the Patriot system itself, they said.

Ukraine received two Patriot air defense systems at the end of April, which are viewed as one of the world's best air defense systems, enabling Ukraine to shoot down ballistic missiles.

The U.S. provided one of them, and Germany and the Netherlands jointly supplied the other. According to CNN, it is unclear which system was purportedly damaged by the Russian May 16 attack.

Ukraine's Air Force admitted on May 6 that it shot down a Kinzhal ballistic missile for the first time since the start of the war.

Kinzhals are Russian-made hypersonic air-launched ballistic missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers. Previously, air defense couldn't shoot them down, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Patriot air defense faces its toughest challenge ever in Ukraine
The wait is over — after almost a year of refusals and hesitation, Western-provided MIM-104 Patriot air defense systems have finally arrived and become operational in Ukraine. On April 21 and 26, Ukraine’s Air Force confirmed the full employment of two Patriot batteries. As Ukraine’s own Soviet-er…
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