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A US-made Patriot system was likely damaged in an 'intense' missile attack in Ukraine involving Russia's Kinzhal, US official says

Serviceman patrols in front of the Patriot air defence system during Polish military training on the missile systems at the airport in Warsaw, Poland February 7, 2023.
Serviceman patrols in front of the Patriot air defence system during Polish military training on the missile systems at the airport in Warsaw, Poland February 7, 2023.REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
  • Russia launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine overnight on Monday.

  • Ukraine's air force said it managed to shoot down 18 different missiles, including six Kinzhals.

  • But a US official says the attack likely resulted in damage to a Patriot air-defense system, CNN reported.

A US-made Patriot air defense system likely suffered damage during a massive overnight Russian missile attack near Kyiv involving one of the Kremlin's most advanced missiles, CNN reported on Tuesday.

It's unclear how the Patriot was damaged. It's also unclear exactly how much damage was inflicted on the system, a US official told the outlet. Depending on the evaluation, the Patriot could either be repaired in the field or taken off its role protecting Ukraine's skies for more extensive work.

The barrage of missiles and drones launched by the Russians overnight included three ground-launched missiles, six Kinzhal missiles, and nine Kalibr missiles. Kyiv's defense ministry said it was "one of the most intense attacks" on the capital since the war broke out.

Ukraine's air force said it shot down "all" the targets. But Russia's defense ministry said on Telegram earlier Tuesday that a Patriot had been "struck" by one of the Kinzhals, though it did not go into more detail.

"We cannot comment on this. We'll stay out of commenting on Russian sources," Serhiy Ihnat, a Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson, said of Moscow's claim. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Ukraine's defense ministry, however, posted a screenshot of Moscow's Telegram statement saying it had "struck" the Patriot. "The russian ministry of defense's press service is more powerful than most countries' armies," Kyiv said. "russia doesn't even need an army to conquer the entire world; its state media and MoD spokesperson konashenkov are more than adequate."

The Patriot system firing in Greece in November 2017 as part of a NATO exercise.
The Patriot system firing in Greece in November 2017 as part of a NATO exercise.Sebastian Apel/U.S. Department of Defense, via AP

The American-made Patriot defense battery — a highly mobile, truck-mounted surface-to-air missile system — is the most advanced US air defense system, and it is capable of engaging ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, drones, and loitering munitions.

Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine's defense minister, confirmed in late April that Kyiv received several Patriots and thanked the US, Germany, and Netherlands — three countries that have promised to deliver the systems. "Today, our beautiful Ukrainian sky becomes more secure because Patriot air defense systems have arrived in Ukraine," he said.

Just days later, in early May, Ukraine said it used its Patriots to shoot down a Russian Kinzhal missile. As it turns out, Russia had been trying to use the Kinzhal to destroy the Patriot, but the plan backfired.

Moscow has touted the Kinzhal, an advanced air-launched ballistic missile, as unstoppable while also inaccurately characterizing the weapon as a "hypersonic missile," a term that typically refers to a emerging class of new weapons of which the Kinzhal is not a part.

The single Patriot that the US promised Ukraine is part of the nearly $37 billion in security assistance that Washington has committed to Kyiv since Russia launched it's full-scale invasion last year. This military aid includes heaping amounts of artillery, rockets, armored vehicles, small arms, and other advanced weaponry.

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