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Ukraine says Russian missile shot down using US defense system

 May 8, 2023

The Ukrainian armed forces claim to have successfully shot down a Russian hypersonic missile using an American-made Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) defense system.

Mykola Oleshchuk, a commander within Ukraine's air force, announced that this marks the first time Ukrainian forces have intercepted such a missile, potentially representing a significant victory for Kyiv.

United States Defense System Proves Effective

Russia's Kh-47 hypersonic missile, capable of reaching up to ten times the speed of sound, is considered one of the most dangerous weapons in Moscow's arsenal.

Some even suggest that the technology behind this missile surpasses that of the United States.

With conventional means proving ineffective against such high-speed weapons, the successful interception by the Patriot SAM defense system is seen as a vindication of United States technology.

Ukraine began receiving the decades-old defense system from America, Germany, and the Netherlands last month.

Oleshchuk detailed the event in a post on Telegram, stating that the interception occurred during a night attack on May 4 in the Kyiv region.

He also shared a personal anecdote, mentioning that his daughter reassures neighbors when loud explosions are heard in the air, telling them to "calm down; our air defense is working!" Oleshchuk urged his fellow citizens to "believe in our Air Force, believe in air defense!"

A "Slap in the Face" for Russia

Yurii Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force, described the successful interception as a "slap in the face" for Russia.

He highlighted the fact that critics had previously claimed the Patriot to be an outdated American weapon, with Russian weapons being the best in the world.

Ihnat affirmed that this event confirms the Patriot's effectiveness against even an advanced hypersonic missile.

Russia's Counterclaims

In response, Russia claimed it shot down at least two Ukrainian ballistic missiles Saturday over the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow unlawfully annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The information was reported by Russian news outlet RT, known for disseminating propaganda.

Call for More Weapons

Ukraine has called on the West to provide more air defense missiles, as losing control of the skies would result in the country being pounded to the ground.

The Russian army has faced significant damage since the beginning of the Ukraine war. The Russian forces have lost almost 10,000 units of crucial equipment, such as tanks, trucks, artillery pieces, and aerial drones.

The International Institute of Strategic Studies estimates that Russia's army has lost nearly 40% of its prewar fleet of tanks, with some key tanks used in combat experiencing losses of up to 50%.

As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia persists, the destruction of a hypersonic missile demonstrates the potential effectiveness of the United States Patriot SAM defense system against advanced Russian technology.

The success of Ukrainian forces in intercepting this high-speed weapon underscores the strength of collaboration and the significance of ongoing support for their allies.