The sky of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, witnessed a special confrontation between the US Patriot air defense system and the Russian hypersonic Kinjal missile, nicknamed the “Dagger”.
The confrontation was revealed by the statements of the Ukrainian and Russian sides, in which each of them claimed that their weapons had brought down the other.
In the late evening of Monday, May 15, in one of the largest Russian air attacks, Ukrainian military facilities were targeted with a barrage of missiles, including deployment points for Ukrainian forces and Western ammunition depots. Moscow announced that all targets had been hit and confirmed that among them was the American-made Patriot system. Kiev described the attack as “extraordinary” in its intensity, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced that all the “Kinjal” hypersonic missiles had been shot down.
He said, “Another achievement of the Ukrainian Air Force.. The defenders of our skies shot down 6 Russian hypersonic missiles of the Kinjal model and 12 other missiles.”
Moscow denied the Ukrainian declaration and denied launching this number of hypersonic missiles. The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement: “At least one Kinjal missile was used in the attack, and it accurately hit the American Patriot system in Kiev.”
US officials have also acknowledged that the Patriot system was damaged, telling the New York Times that “the Patriot system was indeed damaged in the attack but not destroyed.”
The newspaper reported that the Patriot’s ability to repel the Kinjal missile is indefinite, as the Kinjal missile or the dagger has supernatural capabilities. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, its speed exceeds ten times the speed of sound, and Russian President Vladimir Putin described it as an “invincible” weapon.
How does Russian Kinjal work?
Watch how the “Russian dagger” works. pic.twitter.com/UZ777bu2w7
– American events🇺🇸 (@US_World1) May 18, 2023
Here are some key facts about Kinjal, which means “dagger” in Russian:
A ballistic missile launched from the air and capable of carrying nuclear or conventional warheads. Ukraine said it shot down six of them on Tuesday.
It has a range of 1,500 to 2,000 km (930 to 1,240 miles) while carrying a payload of 480 kg. It may reach speeds of Mach 10 (12,250 km/h). Because of this speed, radar systems cannot detect it clearly.
Kinjal is one of six “next generation” weapons unveiled by President Vladimir Putin in a speech in March 2018. He said these weapons can penetrate both existing missile defense systems and any future missile defense systems.
– Putin said in December 2021, two months before the invasion of Ukraine, that Russia is the world leader in the field of hypersonic missiles, and by the time other countries will catch up, it will likely have developed technology to counter these new weapons.
“In our advanced developments, we are definitely the leaders,” he said.
Military analysts said that Russia sent fighter jets armed with Kinjal missiles to Syria for the first time in 2021.
– The Russian Defense Ministry claimed to have fired a Kinjal missile at an ammunition depot in southwestern Ukraine on March 19, 2022, the first known use of this weapon in combat. Since then, Kinjal missiles have been fired on several other occasions in Ukraine.
On May 6, Ukraine said for the first time that it had shot down a Kinjal missile using the Patriot system. It was not clear if the “Western” systems that Kiev said it used against Kinjal on Tuesday were also Patriot systems.