US officials confirmed a Patriot air defense system was damaged but remains operational after an intense Russian missile attack on Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city.
On the morning of May 16, 2023, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that 18 missiles had been launched by Russia during the night, claiming that it had intercepted them all, including six Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.
The General Staff said Kyiv’s air defense owed its success to the recent deployment of two Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems
However, later in the day, Russia’s defense ministry claimed that one Patriot anti-aircraft missile system was saturated and destroyed by the incoming missiles.
“A high-precision strike by the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system in the city of Kyiv hit a US-made Patriot anti-aircraft missile system,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said in a press briefing.
Unconfirmed footage supposedly showing one of the batteries defending itself against a Russian missile barrage before being hit emerged online.
So far there has been No Evidence of these reports other than possible Explosions near the Site of an Air Defense Site that was seen on Livestream last night; Ukrainian Defense Officials have stated “They have nothing to Say” regarding the claims by the Russian MoD. pic.twitter.com/MR76uZhY8Y— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) May 16, 2023
Ukraine’s Air Force refused to comment on the Russian claim.
“We cannot comment on this,” said Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat. “We’ll stay out of commenting on Russian sources.”
US officials confirmed to both CNN and The New York Times that one of the two Patriot air defense systems had been damaged in the air attack. However, they emphasized that despite the damage, the Patriot system continues to remain fully operational and capable of countering any threats.
A damage assessment is ongoing to determine whether the system needs to be extracted for repairs. It is unclear at this point which of the Patriot subsystems was affected, or if it was indeed a Kinzhal hypersonic missile that damaged it.
A full Patriot system is composed of two generators, a detection and tracking radar system, a command-and-control station, an antenna mast group, and up to eight launcher stations containing either four PAC-2 or 16 PAC-3 interceptor missiles.