KYIV, May 17 (Reuters) – Ukraine denied on Wednesday that a Russian hypersonic missile had destroyed a U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system during an airstrike on Kiev.
Russia’s Defense Ministry made the announcement on Tuesday after an overnight airstrike on the Ukrainian capital. Two U.S. officials later said a Patriot system likely suffered damage but did not appear to have been destroyed.
“I want to say: don’t worry about the fate of the Patriot,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat told Ukrainian television.
He ruled out the possibility of a Russian “Kinzhal” missile knocking out a Patriot system.
“To destroy the system with some kind of ‘Kinzhal’, it is impossible. Everything they say there, it can remain in their propaganda archive,” he said.
The Patriot system is one of a number of sophisticated air defense units provided by the West to help Ukraine repel Russian airstrikes after Moscow’s invasion last year.
It is considered one of the most advanced US air defense systems, including anti-aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, and typically includes launchers along with radar and other support vehicles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has touted the Kinzhal missile as proof that his country has world-class military hardware.
Ukraine said it had shot down six Kinzhal missiles on Tuesday, but Russia denied this. It was not clear what Western weapon Ukraine was using, and the Pentagon had no immediate comment.
Reporting by Olena Harmash, editing by Timothy Heritage and Nick Macfie
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