Ukrainian Air Force struggling to counter Russian Kinzhal missiles due to lack of Patriot systems

Patriot air defense system
Patriot air defense system

Russia struck with Kinzhal missiles, which are difficult to intercept, during a massive overnight attack, Illya Yevlash, a spokesperson for the Air Force of Ukraine, said on national television on April 27.

The Russians have been accumulating reserves for some time, and during the mass attack, they launched Kalibr missiles from the Black Sea, as well as missiles from Tu-95 strategic bombers, for the first time since the destruction of Tu-22M3. Kinzhal missiles were launched.

"This is a rather sophisticated weapon that is difficult to shoot down," Yevlash said.

“Only certain means we possess have proven their effectiveness. Patriot can effectively counteract them, but unfortunately, we do not have enough of these systems in the areas where the hits occurred.”

The spokesman confirmed that the Russian troops have not launched Shahed kamikaze drones for some time and noted that the enemy must have a "strategic plan" for this.

The air defense forces shot down six of the eight Russian Kalibr drones, but for 100 percent efficiency, assistance from partners with air defense systems of different ranges is needed, Yevlash said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously said that Ukraine needs 25 Patriot systems or their equivalents to fully protect its airspace, noting that if Ukraine had enough Patriots, Russia would not have been able to destroy the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant in Kyiv Oblast.

Russia's massive attack on April 27

On the evening of April 26 and in the early hours of April 27, Russia massively attacked Ukraine. The Air Force reported that the aggressor used 34 missiles, including X-101/X-555 cruise missiles from Tu-95MS bombers, X-59/X-69 aircraft missiles, Iskander-K cruise missiles, X-47M2 Kinzhal aerial ballistic missiles from MiG-31K aircraft, and Kalibr cruise missiles. Air defense forces shot down 21 missiles.

The Ministry of Energy said that Russia attacked energy facilities in Dnipropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv oblasts on April 27, damaging equipment and injuring a shift supervisor at one of the facilities.

DTEK energy company said that equipment at four thermal power plants was seriously damaged.

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