Russia is 'embarrassed' that Ukraine has shot down its missiles

Russia is ‘surprised and embarrassed’ that Ukraine has shot down its ‘unstoppable’ missiles and is ‘exceptionally concerned’ about Kyiv’s growing threat to air supremacy, says British MoD

  • It comes in response to Russia’s missile attack on Ukraine’s capital yesterday

Russia is ‘exceptionally concerned’ and ’embarrassed’ after Ukrainian air defence shot down several of its ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic missiles, Britain’s MoD has said. 

Ukraine claimed its robust air defence system, made up of Soviet-era and Western-supplied weapons, managed to successfully shoot down 18 of Moscow’s missiles, six of which were reportedly hypersonic ‘Kinzhal’ rockets which Vladimir Putin once boasted were ‘unstoppable’. 

It comes in response to Russia’s drone and missile attack on Ukraine’s capital yesterday morning, hours after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he planned to return from a European tour with a fully re-stocked weapons arsenal. 

Since the start of May, Russia has attempted to use its ‘Killjoy’ ballistic missile system to attack Ukraine’s air defence.

The first successful shoot-down of one of the missiles was reportedly achieved on May 3. 

Explosion of a missile is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine May 16, 2023

The missile attack came hours after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he planned to return from a European tour with a fully re-stocked weapons arsenal

Since that time, Russia has continued to fall prey to Ukraine’s air defence, including on May 13, when four Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) Aircraft comprising of two advanced combat jets and two helicopters were shot down over Russia’s Bryansk region. 

In a tweet this morning, the MoD said: ‘The increased air threat over Russia’s border region will be of exceptional concern for the VKS because it uses the area to launch air power in support of the war.

‘The apparent vulnerability of KILLJOY is likely a surprise and an embarrassment for Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin has touted the system as undefeatable.’

Russia, however, has scrambled to deny the Kinzhal missile failures.

It came as the US admitted that its $1.1 billion Patriot system in use with Ukrainian forces had been likely damaged after a Russian missile strike on Kyiv.

But an official speaking on condition of anonymity denied it had been destroyed by a Russian strike and was probably repairable in Ukraine.

Russia sent out Putin’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu to deny the Kyiv claim that it had downed six Kinzhal – or Dagger – missiles.

Putin has previously claimed that the Mach 10 system cannot be stopped by the West’s air and missile defence systems.

Rescuers putting out a fire following a rocket attack, in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine, 16 May 2023, amid Russia’s invasion

Shoigu said: ‘I have already said and I will repeat it again.

‘We have not launched as many Kinzhals as they allegedly shot down with their statements….

‘And it is still a big question of who really controls the American complexes there.

‘They always make mistakes with the type of missiles. That’s why they don’t hit.’

It is impossible to know the truth but Shoigu’s appearance confirms the importance to the Kremlin of stressing to the Russian public that their hypersonic arsenal is unstoppable.

Russia claimed that in its biggest missile bombardment of Kyiv to date it made a massive strike on the points of deployment of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as stores for ammunition, weaponry and equipment delivered from Western countries.

In particular, the Kinzhal hypersonic missile ‘destroyed’ the American Patriot anti-aircraft missile system in Kyiv.

Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov hailed an ‘unbelievable success’ in shooting down six Kinzhals with the US-made Patriot-MIM 104 missile systems.

But a Russian source told RIA Novosti state media: ‘Due to the speed of the Kinzhal, the US SAMs were suddenly hit from an air ambush – the enemy combat crews could do nothing to protect their anti-aircraft systems.’

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