'Another unbelievable success': Ukraine intercepts all 18 missiles fired at Kyiv by Russia
Ukrainian air defenses, armed with surface-to-air Patriots supplied by the United States and Germany, shot down all eighteen missiles fired at Kyiv by Russia on Monday night, according to the country's Air Force and one of its top military officials.
Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces, confirmed that "six Kinzhal ballistic missiles" as well as "nine Kalibr missiles and three land-based missiles, including both S-400 and Iskander-M missiles" were blasted out of the sky," The Kyiv Independent reported. "The Air Force also said that it had also downed six Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 kamikaze drones and three reconnaissance drones that included Orlan-10 and SuperCam types."
The stunning development was picked up by major Western news outlets such as Al Jazeera, the British Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, and CBS News early Tuesday morning.
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On social media, there was an explosion of support and praise for Ukraine.
"If I was a Russian nuclear strategist today, I would be very worried. You just received proof of concept that Western air and missile defenses can intercept 100% of your tactical nuclear delivery vehicles (SRBM, BM, aircraft) in a time-coordinated, multi-vector attack," wrote nuclear scientist Fabian Hoffman. "You must also wonder what this means for the Russian (or Chinese for that matter) strategic nuclear deterrent. Yes, shooting down ICBMs is a whole different kind of challenge and may never be feasible. But the "what if" must loom large today. Sorry, CM = Cruise Missile, not BM in the first tweet."
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, elatedly tweeted that "6 Russian Kinzhal rockets were shot down by Ukrainian air defense last night. Once more, the world saw that Russian weapons are archaic and aren't able to get through modern air defense systems. (A good ad of Russian weapons for those who still buy them). We should also admire once more the skill of Ukrainian air defense, as well as how quickly our Defenders master new types of weapons. Glory! I'm sure that our pilots will amaze us all when they finally fly F-16s!"
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called the counterattack "another unbelievable success for the Ukrainian Air Forces!" He recalled that "last night, our sky defenders shot down SIX Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missiles and 12 other missiles. Russian terrorists have no chance of prevailing over Ukraine. Their weapons can and should be countered by Western ones. Thank you to our Air Force service members and our partner states, who invested in securing the skies over Ukraine and all of Europe. Let's win together!"
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Kyiv School of Economics President Tymofiy Mylovanov, who advises President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, further elaborated upon the significance of Ukraine's accomplishment:
This was an extraordinary night in Kyiv. My wife counted over 30 explosions and we saw dozens of launches by the Ukrainians' air defense from our balcony. It was so fast, we didn’t even have time to get to a shelter. Ukraine reports to have intercepted ALL of the missiles.
The Commander in Chief Zaluzhnyi says this morning that Russians attacked with 18 missiles: - 6 supersonic Kinzhals (previously believed to be impossible to intercept) - 9 Kalibr missiles - 3 Iskander / S400 missiles. All were shot down.
This Russian attack was remarkable for its intensity, speed, and concentration in time. It was the eighth such assault since the beginning of May, but it was the largest.
Ukraine's air defense proved remarkably effective. All of the incoming Russian missiles were detected and destroyed. There was minor damage from missile debris. I saw quite of bit of it falling from the sky with my eyes.
The effectiveness is attributed to the Western support, especially the Patriot systems provided by the U.S. and Germany. The Ukrainian social media is full of claims that Russians were specifically targeting the Patriot systems, but failed.
Earlier in May, a milestone was reached when a US-made Patriot missile defense system intercepted a Russian missile. Thank you allies of Ukraine for improving Ukraine's previously inadequate air defenses against modern Russian missiles.
Ukrainian intelligence recently suggested a change in Russia's military capacity. While there is still a sizable arsenal of S-300 missiles, Russia is reported to no longer be capable of launching large-scale offensive operations. This attack appears to challenge this claim.
Whether it is Russia’s postering trying to convince the world that intelligence estimates about its ability to attack are off the mark or not will soon become clear. Regardless, the effectiveness of the Ukrainian air defense is commendable and good news for us all.
Ukraine is actively preparing for a counteroffensive. Russian bloggers report that the entire front line is in a defensive stance. However, a specific timeline for the launch of the counteroffensive remains uncertain. This is to be expected as both sides engage in infoops [information operations].
Meanwhile, there are daily reports of Ukraine’s gains in Bakhmut. I feel that a shift in conflict intensity and dynamics is imminent. And this last night attack is another sign.
The Kyiv Independent's report continues here.
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