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Ukrainian military forensic experts show first Russian hypersonic missile downed with Patriot system

Ukrainian military forensic experts are examining a Russian hypersonic missile shot down for the first time by the Patriot defense system.

The Kinzhal, which means “dagger” in Russian, shot down by the Ukrainian Air Force during an attack on the capital Kyiv last week, is one of six “next generation” weapons unveiled by President Vladimir Putin in 2018 when the Russian leader boasted that it cannot be shot down by any of the world’s air defense systems.

Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said the Kh-47 Kinzhal had been shot down on Thursday (May 11) night over the region outside Kyiv. The Air Force said it had been taken down by a U.S. Patriot air defense system.

The U.S. Patriot system is one of an array of sophisticated air defense units supplied by the West to help Ukraine repel a months-long Russian campaign of air strikes that has targeted critical infrastructure, power facilities and other sites.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the attacks that Russia stepped up in October ahead of winter. The strikes failed to cripple the power grid but caused sweeping power cuts and other outages. Russia denies targeting civilians.

The air-launched ballistic missile, which can reach speeds of up to Mach 10 (12,350 kilometers per hour), is capable of carrying nuclear or conventional warheads. It has a reported range of 1,500 to 2,000 km.

U.S. Patriot missiles were only delivered to Ukraine last month, officials said.

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