Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko shows a Kh-47 Kinzhal missile shot down by a Ukrainian Air Defence unit, at a compound of the Scientific Research Institute in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Russia’s new priority is targeting Ukraine’s improved air defense systems, the UK MOD said.
This comes after Ukraine shot down Kinzhal missiles that Russia bragged were unstoppable.
One Patriot air defense system was purportedly destroyed by Russia, however according to US sources, it was still in service.
Russia’s new priority is trying to neutralize Ukraine’s “improved” air defense systems after they successfully shot down missiles that President Vladimir Putin had bragged were unbeatable, according to UK intelligence.
The UK Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update on Wednesday that Russia has prioritized attempts to neutralize Ukraine’s improved air defence capabilities after it “achieved the first ever shoot-down of a KILLJOY air-launched ballistic missile.”
KILLJOY is NATO’s term for Russia’s advanced Kinzhal missiles, which Russia has previously described as unstoppable.
Ukraine said on Saturday that it achieved the first-ever shoot down of a Kinzhal over its capital city, Kyiv, using a US-made Patriot air defense system.
On Tuesday it said it had shot down six more Kinzhal missiles over the city.
Insider was unable to independently validate the statement.
The UK MOD did not say how many Russian Kinzhal missiles it believes have been destroyed, merely stating that Russia had lost “several more” KILLJOY missiles in its efforts to target Ukraine’s defense systems.
Additionally, it’s unknown how good Russia’s attempts have been.
On Tuesday one Patriot air defense system in Kyiv was destroyed by a Russian rocket, according to the Russian military department.
Ukraine refuted the claim, Top news planet reported.
The news was told by two US officials that one Patriot system had been damaged but was still operating.
Patriot systems make for easy targets due to the signals they emit, but their best chance of taking out a Kinzhal is actually when they are the target, one expert told Insider.
The US decided to give Ukraine the Patriot defense system last year, after Ukraine asked allies for air defense help to repel Russian attacks. Ukraine has at least two Patriot air defense systems.
Due to Russia’s targeting of cities remote from the combat lines, Ukraine’s air defenses have become more and more vital in the war.
Many of these efforts have been foiled by Ukraine’s defenses, which also include missile systems from the UK and other countries.
The destruction of the Kinzhal missiles was a psychological blow for Russia.
The missile’s manufacturer, Rostec, had claimed “there is no countermeasure” to it, with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in August calling it “impossible neither to detect it nor to intercept,” as Insider’s Ryan Pickrell previously reported.
The UK MOD said that the apparent vulnerability of the missiles “is likely a surprise and an embarrassment for Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin has touted the system as undefeatable.”
Meanwhile, experts have disputed the idea that the missile can be called “hypersonic,” as they don’t have the ability for sustained hypersonic flight, even though they can reached those speeds.