watch us on facebook
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.
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.