Ukraine Claims to Have Shot Down a Wave of Russia’s ‘Unstoppable Hypersonic’ Missiles For First Time

ukraine bus
State Emergency Service of Ukraine

Ukraine claimed “another unbelievable success” on Tuesday morning, stating it had shot down six ‘hypersonic’ missiles over Ukraine overnight, stating that the damage on the ground in Kyiv this morning was caused by falling missile debris.

Six Kinzhal (Dagger/Killjoy) ‘hypersonic’ missiles were shot down over Ukraine overnight, as well as nine cruise missiles, three ballistic missiles, six suicide drones, and three reconnaissance drones, the Ukrainian government claimed Tuesday morning.

Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov said: “Another unbelievable success for the Ukrainian Air Forces! Last night, our sky defenders shot down SIX [Russian] hypersonic Kinzhal missiles and 12 other missiles… Thank you to our Air Force service members and our partner states, who invested in securing the skies over Ukraine and all of Europe.”

Близько 03:30 16-го травня 2023 року російські окупанти атакували Україну з північного, південного та східного напрямків…

Posted by Генеральний штаб ЗСУ / General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Monday, May 15, 2023

A spokesman for the city of Ukraine called the barrage defeated to have been “exception in its density – the maximum number of attack missiles in the shortest period of time”.

Despite the successful interception of the weapons, there was still damage on the ground, which the Kyiv regional administration said was from falling missile debris. Images released by Ukraine showed several buses burnt out.

The news, while good for Ukraine, is especially good for defence contractor Raytheon which developed and builds the Patriot Missile System which is proving it can reliably bring down missiles which, it is widely claimed, Russia boasts to be “unstoppable”. As Reuters notes, the ability of America’s top weapons system to defeat Russia’s is no longer theoretical, but proven.

A statement from the Kremlin today says the Kinzhal has “completely unique tactical and technical characteristics”, and calls Ukraine’s claims to have shot some down today “alleged”.

While this is not the first time a Kinzhal missile has been downed by Patriot — one was taken down earlier this month by Patriot for the first time — to take down a wave of six is being treated as a major milestone.

As with everything in the Ukraine war, the truth can be harder to discern. While Ukraine claims to have used the advanced U.S. missile defence system to shield itself from one of Russia’s prized modern weapons systems, Moscow claims the opposite in fact happened, and that a Kinzhal missile actually hit a Patriot battery earlier in the month.

This had to be true, the Kremlin said, because Kinzhal missiles can’t be intercepted by American missiles, therefore the target had to have been struck. Russia called the Ukrainian claims of having been able to use Patriot Missiles to bring down their weapons as “fake… wishful thinking” which was being used to justify Western defence budgets.

The same allegation of wishful thinking could be said to apply to Russia in their heralding of the Kinzhal missiles themselves. Touted as hypersonic and even “unstoppable”, Western analysis claims the weapons do not truly qualify as what defence analysts class as hypersonic weapons because while they are fast, there is no commensurate leap forward in manoeuvrability to claim that title.


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