ATLANTA, USA (CNN) — A US-made Patriot missile system may have been damaged but not destroyed as a result of a Russian missile attack in and around Kiev early Tuesday morning local time, a US official told CNN.
The official said the US was still assessing the extent of the damage. This will determine whether the system will be completely restored by the Ukrainians or repaired on the spot.
“A high-precision strike from the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system in Kiev struck a US-made Patriot missile and anti-aircraft system,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a post on Telegram on Tuesday.
Ukrainian officials on Tuesday said they had succeeded in intercepting all six hypersonic missiles fired by the Russians, but the Ukrainian military declined to comment on the Russians’ claim to have hit the patriot system.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Serhii Ahnat said: “We cannot comment on this. We will refrain from commenting on Russian sources.”
Ukraine currently has two Patriot air defense systems, one donated by the United States and the other by Germany and the Netherlands. It is unclear which of these systems may have been damaged.
US officials told CNN last week that Russia had targeted the systems with hypersonic missiles, including on May 4. That attack failed, and officials said the Ukrainians succeeded in intercepting the missile before it hit the Patriot.
But U.S. officials believe the Russians can pick up the signals emitted by the Patriot missiles, allowing them to target the system with a supersonic missile known as Kinzhal, or killing joy.
The Patriot missile system has 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 needed to detect threats from a distance makes it possible for an enemy to detect a Patriot battery and learn its location. Unlike some of the short-range air defenses provided to Ukraine, which are highly mobile and difficult to target, the Patriot large battery is a large and stable system that makes it possible for the Russians to focus on its position over time.
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