Ukraine says it has shot down every Kinzhal missile fired at Kiev since it got the Patriot.

Ukraine says it has shot down every Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile fired at Kiev in over a year.

All Kinzhal hypersonic missiles fired by Russia at targets in Kiev have been shot down since the US supplied Patriot air defense systems in May 2023, Ukrainian Air Force Colonel Serhii Yaremenko told Ukrinform on July 4.

The Kinzhal missile is launched from a MiG-31K aircraft and has a range of about 2,000 km, which means all of Ukraine would be at risk if the missile was launched from Russian airspace.

Russia claims its advanced air-launched Kinzhal missile is hypersonic and the weapon was considered nearly impossible to intercept and shoot down before the Patriot system appeared, according to Ukrainian officials.

Mr Yaremenko, commander of the 95th anti-aircraft missile brigade, said Kiev had been targeted by more than 20 Kinzhal missiles since last May, but none of them had hit their targets in the capital.

“When we are dealing with ballistic targets, Kh-47M Kinzhal, Iskander-M, 48N or Zircon missiles are no problem for us,” he said.

Ballistic missiles are fired high into the atmosphere before falling towards their target in an arc, reaching speeds many times the speed of sound before hitting their target.

“For us, they are all ballistic targets. I will say only one thing: all Kinzhal missiles launched towards the Ukrainian capital, since the Patriot air defense missile system was put into combat duty, were successfully intercepted,” Yaremenko said.

Mr Yaremenko added that “more than 20 Kinzhal missiles have been launched over Kyiv and all of them have been successfully intercepted” since May 2023.

The first time a Kinzhal was shot down over Kiev was on May 3, 2023, at 2:35 a.m. at an altitude of about 10 kilometers, the official said.

“We used the Patriot air defense missile system very carefully after receiving information that the Kinzhal was fired from a Russian MiG-31K aircraft,” he recalled.

“When there was a sign of launch, we turned on the machine and identified the target. The speed was so high that we didn’t have time to clarify the mission and its characteristics. I was told it was ballistic, I authorized the use of Patriot and the missile was destroyed,” said Mr. Yaremenko.

Russia has not commented on Ukraine’s claims, but Moscow has repeatedly rejected Ukraine’s claims that it could have shot down the Kinzhal, saying it was technically impossible.

According to a Russian official, the speed of Kinzhal exceeds the maximum interception capability of Patriot. He said that Kinzhal is capable of avoiding missiles in the terminal phase and attacking targets vertically, making it impossible for current surface-to-air systems to shoot it down.

Ukraine has repeatedly called on its partners to provide additional air defense shields as Russia has stepped up attacks on targets across Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in April that he would not say how many Patriot systems Ukraine has, but stressed that “to fully cover Ukraine in the future, it is best for Kiev to have 25 Patriot systems, each with 6-8 batteries.”

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