Russia’s Ministry of Defense on Wednesday claimed a devastating strike using top-of-the-line Kinzhal missiles pretty much annihilated almost every high-tech, uber-costly US-made Patriot missile defense battery defending Kyiv.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the Russian bombers hurled another missile salvo at the Ukrainian capital. Ukrainian gunners operating Patriot and other anti-missile systems cut that strike to bits as well.

According to official Ukrainian statements, much of it eye-witnessed and corroborated by independent media and average residents of the Ukrainian capital, Russian air forces in two waves, one at about 03:30 on Wednesday and the second at about 04:00 on Thursday, launched 35-40 precision-guided missiles at the Ukrainian capital.

The vanguard of the Kremlin assault was a formation of six air-launched Kinzhal (NATO designator KILLJOY) “hypersonic” cruise missiles, a weapon billed by the Kremlin to be too fast for any missile in the world to intercept, including specifically the recently delivered American Patriot anti-aircraft missile system.

Hours later, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced: “According to reliably confirmed data, on 16 May, as a result of the strike by the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system on Kyiv, a multifunctional radar station was hit and completely destroyed, as well as five launchers of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system manufactured in the United States."

Western news outlets led by CNN reported two Patriot systems had been slightly damaged in the attacks. Local media reported at least twenty anti-aircraft missiles of all types were fired at the incoming strike, and a pair of ground explosions caused by, possibly, a Russian missile striking home, or pieces from a falling Russian or Ukrainian missile following a successful intercept. Moderate damage caused by falling debris to scattered civilian infrastructure also was reported.

As to the “impossible-to-intercept” Kinzhal, the Ukrainian army-operated Patriots shot all six of them down, Ukraine air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said in a Wednesday evening television interview. The Patriots Ukraine has received are dispersed and knocking out an entire system in a single strike is “practically impossible,” he said.

 Ukrainian independent media, usually citing open source reports from NATO states delivering military equipment to Ukraine, have generally agreed that since early May two US-made Patriot systems, each consisting of 4-8 launcher vehicles, a single command vehicle, and one or two radar vehicles, arrived in Ukraine. The number and location of air defense systems is, in most cases, a closely guarded Ukrainian military secret.

The Russian Kinzhal missile, touted by Moscow as superior to any NATO long-range strike weapon and able to overcome any air defense system in the world, including particularly the US Patriot system, is a ballistic missile dropped from a high-flying aircraft and according to its designers capable of accelerating to a speed of Mach 10.

Russian state-controlled media has repeatedly claimed the weapon is impossible to intercept, cheaper and more effective that Western systems, and a key piece of the Kremlin’s nuclear deterrence force.  

An explosion over Kyiv during a Russian missile strike early on May 16. PHOTO: AFP

Military and independent experts said that the half dozen Kinzhal shot down over Kyiv on Wednesday effectively demonstrated the opposite of Kremlin advertising: that in a real war, costly investment into better technology and testing it thoroughly delivers real-life battlefield results, and in Ukraine that means the better weapons aren’t in Russian hands. 

In Thursday comments to the military publication Breaking Defense, General Charles Flynn, commander of US Army Pacific Forces, said that the Pentagon never stopped upgrading the 1990s-developed Patriot, and that system – modernized and tweaked specifically to intercept Russian and Chinese guided missiles – operated by trained Ukrainian crews will change the way they and their Ukrainian opponents fight in the future.

“We have advanced that [Patriot] capability in ways that are profound… [training of the Ukrainian troops on Patriots] has a profound effect on the applications of those weapons systems and, maybe more importantly, how you defend and what you’re defending.”

US arms giant Lockheed Martin has manufactured over 10,000 Patriot missiles over the years. The very latest version, called PAC-3 MSE, was fielded in 2016 and designed, besides airplanes, to take on incoming missiles. The American advertisement is the weapon will shut down a 60 km. radius of air space against missiles and almost three times that against airplanes.

Theoretically, one Patriot system is sufficient to protect the capital Kyiv, leaving open the questions of where the second system is and where Ukrainian military planners will place the French/Italian version of Patriot, called SAMP/T, when it arrives in the country, according to news reports, in late May. 

What is clear are the trends. On Thursday, the Russian air force launched another wave of explosive-toting weapons at Kyiv, including ground-skimming cruise missiles, a pair of ballistic missiles, Iranian drones intended to spoof Ukrainian radars, and even a pair of spotter drones to monitor the attack’s progress.

By mid-morning Ukraine’s air force claimed it shot it all down, including the decoy drones and the spotter aircraft as well. Ukrainian news platforms reported slight damage to civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, all to falling missile debris. According to all but claims in Russia-controlled media, not a single Russian missile got through to its target.

Below image: Graphic of the pieces of a single Patriot “system” – published by the manufacturer Raytheon. Ukrainian military media has suggested Ukraine has probably received and is currently operating two control vehicles, two to four radars, and as many as 12-16 launch vehicles donated by the US, Germany and the Netherlands.


Image below: Compilation of images trolling official Russian claims of the “unbeatable” Kinzhal missile that “is impossible to intercept”. Compilation published by the handle

Below US Army image published by @Airpower 2.0 – contrast in capacities between the PAC-3 CRI missile used by Patriot, and the PAC-3 MSE missile used by Patriot


Below image: Ukraine army official missile kill claims for 17-18 May. Ukrainian air force spokesmen have credited the six Kinzhal shot-downs to the US Patrriort system.

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Comments (7)
Charles Ware
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Slava Ukraine!

Backward isolated shithole country has been putting on like it is a player in the big league. So often Russia tries to copy US technology and does a piss poor job of it. They are good at pilfering the money of the Russian people while building a copy of the US space shuttle out of popsicle sticks and crappy low grade copy of Elmer's glue!
All the while Vlad the assassin is running his alagator mouth but now we see his chicken ass.
His unstoppable Kinzahl super duper sonicfied unstoppable missile is just another pile of steaming horse shit. Give Ukraine whatever it takes to finish this miserable 3rd rate country and it's tin horn dictator off so the rest of the world can start repairing the damage done by this stupidity.
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With what the patriot can do now you can bet the next patriot system will be a monster
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Your attacks on civilian targets will not work never has ask vietmam or the uk they back fire because they will hate you more.So why don't just stop your war is stupid.
William Spillman
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Russia is not being defeated by superior technology, it is being defeated by the endemic corruption of its leadership and its people.
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One thing to consider is that air defense does not necessarily have to destroy the incoming missile to be effective. If the missile attempts to do so much evasive maneuvering, it can't hit the desired target anymore; that is just as useful as a direct hit.
$10 million dollars a piece to put big holes in a field near high-value targets is not an effective way for Russia to fight this war.
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Its time to take the war to russias door step. Let.the Russian pigs feel what the Ukrainians are going thru. Bomb the Kremlin and st. Petersburg. It's time for poontang to feel pain. It's time for poontamg to be bombed into oblivion.

Gerhard Brunjewerte
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@Buc, I agree that St. Perb'g and Moskit need to be waken up. Because the Moskit control the INFO, the russians ( with exceptions) believed that the invasion of Ukraine is OK. Clearly, the russians are dreaming on the capacity of Russia to submit Ukraine. Too soon, they will learn the bad news, as well as the Kremlin.

B Walker
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@Gerhard Brunjewerte,

B Walker
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@B Walker, --Hard not to agree. A couple rockets landing on the roof of Peterhof would have a profound effect on public opinion.

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@B Walker, It would probably unite it, just as would Russia draping a bomb on DC.
Jack Griffin
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I wish the United States had professional, ethical, competent news Journalists as those who serve Ukrainians at the Kyiv Post. This news article is INFORMATIVE. It is based upon fact and not estrogen charged emotional hyperbole intended to divide their audience. In other words, not like the majority of Left Bank Propagandists for the Demagogic Cult here in the United States. You are so blessed.

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@Jack Griffin, read Daily Kos. And understand that black/white generalisations often can be a bias resulting of prejudices & lack of information, no approximation of truth or reality.
Where that generalisation can be applied to is the Ukraine/Russia war.