The US has confirmed that the Ukrainian military shot down a Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile using the Patriot air defense system.
News about the milestone was reported as early as last week, but it was not confirmed that the US-made weapon was responsible for the attack.
Now that the information has been verified, the intercept serves as a historic event for Kyiv’s forces, who have been trying to counter powerful missile attacks from Moscow.
“I can confirm that they did down a Russian missile by employing the Patriot missile defense system,” press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.
“As you know, that system is part of a broader range of air defense capabilities that the United States and the international community have provided to Ukraine.”
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the Kinzhal missile neutralized by the Patriot system was capable of traveling up to 10 times the speed of sound.
Ryder did not disclose which country supplied the Patriot battery that shot down the hypersonic missile.
Ukraine's air defenders shot down Kinzhal, a hypersonic aeroballistic russian missile, for the first time since the attacks began. This was done by operators of Patriot air defense system. pic.twitter.com/V2YqZE5QEU
— Ukrainian Air Force (@KpsZSU) May 6, 2023
Rushing More Air Defense Systems
With the success of the Patriot system in Ukraine, Ryder vowed that the US and its allies will continue to rush air defense capabilities to the war-torn nation.
The systems, along with additional munitions, are expected to help Kyiv control its sovereign skies and defend its citizens from Russian cruise missiles and drones.
Earlier this month, Washington pledged $1.2 billion in long-term military assistance to Ukraine.
“This package underscores the continued US commitment to meeting Ukraine’s most urgent requirements by committing critical capabilities – such as air defense systems and munitions – while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term,” Ryder explained.