Atlanta, USA (CNN) — The US-made Patriot missile system was likely damaged, but not destroyed, as a result of a Russian missile strike in and around Kiev early Tuesday morning local time, a US official told CNN.
The official said the United States was still assessing the extent of the damage. This will determine whether the system needs to be recovered entirely or simply repaired on the spot by the Ukrainians.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said, on Tuesday, in a post on Telegram, that “a high-precision strike from the Kinjal hypersonic missile system in the city of Kiev hit the American-made Patriot missile and anti-aircraft system.”
Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday that they had succeeded in intercepting all six hypersonic missiles fired by the Russians, but the Ukrainian military refused to comment on the Russians’ claim of hitting the Patriot system.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Serhiy Ahnat said: “We cannot comment on this. We will stay away from commenting on Russian sources.”
Ukraine currently has two Patriot air defense systems in the country, one donated by the United States and the other donated by Germany and the Netherlands. It is not clear which of these systems may have been damaged.
US officials told CNN last week that Russia had targeted the systems with hypersonic missiles, including once on May 4. That attack failed, and the Ukrainians succeeded in intercepting the missile before it could hit the Patriot, the officials said.
But US officials believe the Russians were able to pick up the signals emitted by the Patriot missiles, allowing them to target the system with the supersonic missile, known as the Kinjal, or pleasure to kill.
The Patriot missile system contains a powerful radar to detect incoming long-range targets, making it a powerful air defense platform capable of intercepting ballistic missiles and more.
But the radar emission necessary to spot threats from a distance also makes it possible for the enemy to detect a Patriot battery and learn its location. And unlike some of the short-range air defenses provided to Ukraine that are more mobile and difficult to target, the Patriot Large Battery is a larger and more static system, making it possible for the Russians to focus on its position over time.
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