Kremlin responds to Ukraine missile claims
It is highly unlikely that Ukraine shot down Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. His comments came after Kiev claimed to have intercepted six of the rockets overnight.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Peskov said the Kinzhal has “absolutely unique characteristics.” When asked about the details of the overnight Russian airstrikes on Kiev, the official referred reporters to the Defense Ministry.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian military officials said that a precision strike by a Kinzhal missile had destroyed a US-supplied Patriot defense system in Kiev. The statement marks the first time that Moscow has reported the destruction of an air defense system supplied to Ukraine by its Western backers.
The head of Kiev’s military administration, Sergey Popko, wrote on Telegram that Russia had conducted an “integrated attack” on various targets in the Ukrainian capital, describing it as “exceptional in its density.”
He said that the strikes had featured kamikaze drones, as well as cruise and possibly ballistic missiles. Popko claimed the “majority of enemy targets in the airspace of Kiev were detected and destroyed.”
The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, later reported that 18 missiles had been fired by Russia, claiming that all of them had been intercepted by Kiev’s air defenses. Among them were six Kinzhal missiles, nine Kalibr cruise missiles, and three ground-launched Iskander ballistic missiles, the general said.
Last week, Ukrainian officials announced that a US-supplied Patriot system had shot down a Kinzhal missile above Kiev.
Moscow did not officially comment on the claims, although a high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti that it was “wishful thinking” by Ukraine. The Patriot system is not capable of intercepting a hypersonic missile such as the Kinzhal, the source insisted.
The Kinzhal is a Russian hypersonic air-to-surface missile that has been in service since 2017. It can travel at speeds of up to Mach 12 (around 14,800kph) while performing evasive maneuvers, and is said to be able to penetrate any existing air defenses.