Russians Claim to Have Destroyed US Target

Russia Shoots Down US Target

( – On Tuesday, May 16, Ukrainian officials reported that Russian military forces launched a dense attack overnight on Kyiv, its capital city. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a short clip on his Twitter account, claiming that units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) shot down all 18 of the missiles launched against the city’s defenses, including ballistic ones. However, the Russian Defense Ministry presented a different account of the airstrike, claiming it took out a US target.

The Russian Ministry of Defense posted a press release on its Telegraph account detailing the incident. The ministry reported that the Russian Federation launched a combined air strike on Kyiv using air and sea-launched long-range guided missiles against AFU units, including ammunition depots. The statement noted that its aerial assault also targeted “weapons and military equipment” supplied to Ukraine by “Western countries.”

The Defense Ministry claimed it “neutralized” all its “assigned targets,” including a MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system. The statement said Russian forces used an air-launched Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile to take out the US-manufactured weapon.

Officials with the Biden administration refused to elaborate on the Russian claim. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters he couldn’t confirm the report’s accuracy during Tuesday’s White House press briefing. He did say that if a Patriot Missile system needed repair “outside Ukraine,” the US “would certainly assist with that.”

However, an unnamed US official told CNN that a Patriot system sustained damage during the attack but wasn’t destroyed. That individual said the US was still assessing the damage to determine whether the AFU could repair the weapon in Kyiv or whether it needed to be withdrawn to another location — presumably outside Ukraine.

In December 2022, the Defense Department announced its decision to start sending Patriot air defense systems and munitions to Ukraine as part of a new $1.85 billion security assistance package. In January, it started training AFU troops in the use of the sophisticated weapons system in early 2023.

The MIM-104 Patriot presents a clear and present danger to Russian forces as the United State’s primary air defense system. Initially developed as an anti-aircraft system, Raytheon Technologies expanded its capabilities to “detect, identify, and defeat” various weapons, including “tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones… and other threats,” making it a key target for Russian forces.

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