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US-Supplied Patriot System in Ukraine Was Not Destroyed by Russian Attack

Wesam Abo Marq Wesam Abo Marq
20th May 2023
US-Supplied Patriot System in Ukraine Was Not Destroyed by Russian Attack
The Patriot air defense system is still operational (Twitter)

The Claim

A video captures Russia's hypersonic missile of the Patriot missile system, which is provided by the United States.

Emerging story

Russian government entities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and the Embassy of Russia in South Africa, disseminated video footage alleging that Russia's hypersonic missile destroyed the US-supplied Patriot missile system in Ukraine.

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating claim and found it to be misleading.

Reliable news sources, relying on information from U.S. and Ukrainian officials, have conveyed that the Patriot air defense system, supplied to Ukraine, sustained some damage but remains operational.

The Patriot Air Defense System Is Operational

According to three U.S. officials who spoke to CNN, the Patriot air defense system near Kyiv sustained minimal damage during a Russian missile attack on May 16. 

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Photo Description: A screenshot of CNN’s article.

One official even described the damage as "minor." In response to reports from Ukrainian forces regarding potential damage, the United States dispatched inspectors to assess the system on the same day. The officials confirmed that the Patriot system remains functional, and importantly, its radar component, a crucial element, remained undamaged. 

Ukraine: Patriot Air Defense System Is Not Destroyed

Yurii Ihnat, the spokesperson for Ukraine's Air Force Command, specifically stated that the Kinzhal missile is incapable of destroying the U.S.-made Patriot system. 

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Photo Description: A screenshot of Washington Post’s article.

The cause of the damage to the Patriot air defense system remains uncertain, as it is unclear whether it resulted from a direct missile strike or falling debris. Ukrainian authorities have asserted that all six Russian Kinzhal missiles were successfully intercepted on Tuesday morning. 

What Is the Patriot System

The Patriot system, short for Phased Array Tracking Radar for Intercept on Target, is a highly advanced surface-to-air missile defense system developed by Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) and widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated air defense systems in the United States' arsenal.

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Photo Description: A screenshot of Reuter’s article.

Its inaugural use in combat took place during the Gulf War in 1991 when Patriot batteries were deployed to safeguard Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Israel. Subsequently, the system was utilized during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

According to estimates from the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, the cost of a newly manufactured single Patriot battery exceeds $1 billion. This includes approximately $400 million for the system itself and around $690 million for the missiles within a battery.

Russia-Ukraine War

Following the commencement of a military offensive by the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022, the security situation in Ukraine rapidly deteriorated. The violence intensified in multiple regions, including Kyivska oblast, Kyiv, and the already conflict-affected eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk.

This escalation in hostilities has resulted in a significant increase in humanitarian needs. The disruption of essential supplies and services, coupled with the displacement of civilians fleeing the fighting, has led to a pressing humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimates that approximately 12 million people in Ukraine will require relief and protection. Additionally, over 4 million Ukrainian refugees may seek protection and assistance in neighboring countries in the coming months.

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