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Pentagon confirms Ukraine first to shoot down an air-launched ballistic missile with Patriot

Patriot for Ukraine
Illustration: US Army file photo of a live fire exercise with Patriot missiles

Ukraine did down a Russian Kinzhal missile by employing the Patriot missile defense system provided by the United States, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed during a press briefing.

Ukraine first reported the shootdown on Saturday last week, saying it used a Patriot battery to intercept the supposed hypersonic missile over Kyiv.

Now confirmed, the intercept represents Ukraine’s first official use of the Patriot, as well the first intercept of Russia’s Kinzhal.

Also known as KH-47M2 Kinzhal, the missile is supposedly capable of attaining hypersonic speed, according to Russian officials. It is also believed to be loosely based on the ground-launched 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic missile.

According to the statement made by Brig. Gen. Ryder, the presence of the US Patriot system in Ukraine is confirmed. However, when it comes to the specific battery employed and whether it was provided by the United States or the Netherlands, Gen. Ryder suggested referring to the Ukrainian authorities for accurate information.

The Patriot system, along with NASAMS, HAWKs, SAM-T, Avengers, and counter-UAS, represents a comprehensive collection of air defense capabilities that the United States and the international community have supplied to Ukraine in their support.

The Pentagon has further disclosed its intentions to allocate a sum of $1.2 billion towards a new aid package. The objective of this package is to provide support to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and cater to its artillery requirements.

A portion of the funds will be utilized to procure an increased supply of 155 mm artillery rounds, ensuring Ukraine’s artillery forces have adequate ammunition. Sustainment support will also be provided, enabling Ukraine to effectively maintain its existing systems and equipment.

Additionally, the package includes the provision of additional air defense systems and munitions equipment. These resources will facilitate the integration of Western air-defense launchers, missiles, and radars with Ukraine’s own air-defense systems.

Furthermore, the aid package incorporates ammunition specifically designed for countering unmanned aerial systems (UAS). This reflects the recognition of the evolving threat landscape and the need to equip Ukraine with the means to neutralize UAS threats effectively.

The package also includes commercial satellite-imagery services, which will enable enhanced situational awareness and intelligence gathering. Training, maintenance, and sustainment activities will also be supported.

“This package underscores the continued US commitment to meeting Ukraine’s most urgent requirements by committing critical capabilities — such as air defense systems and munitions — while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term,” Ryder said during the news conference.