A U.S.-made Patriot air defense system, allegedly hit by the Russian May 16 attack on Kyiv, has only 'minimal' damages and doesn't need to be shipped to the U.S. for repairs, CNN reported, citing three American officials.
According to CNN's sources, Washington sent inspectors to check the Patriot missile complex after being told by Ukrainian authorities that the system appeared to have been damaged. However, Kyiv hasn't confirmed reports on the potential damage to the air defense system.
The system itself remains functional after the attack, the unnamed U.S. officials told CNN, with no damage to the radar component, one of Patriot's crucial elements. According to the media outlet, it's unclear what part of Patriot was purportedly damaged and how exactly — by an actual missile or its debris falling down.
Russian Defense Ministry said it had allegedly struck and destroyed a Patriot system with a Kinzhal ballistic missile overnight on May 16. An unnamed U.S. official told CNN that the Russian attack had damaged the system but not destroyed it.
However, Ukraine's Air Force reported downing all Russian missiles targeting Ukraine during this attack, including six Kinzhals.
Commenting on media reports about the damage to the Patriot, the Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said it was "impossible" to destroy the system by a Kinzhal missile. Ihnat explained, according to the Hromadske news outlet, that Patriot has up to eight launchers, and the system's elements are located at a certain distance from one another.
The White House neither confirmed nor denied the information provided by CNN, and there is no visual evidence of the reported damage to the Patriot system.
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.