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Ukraine says downed Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile for first time

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Ukraine said Saturday that it had for the first time downed a Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile during a wave of Russian attacks in the night between last Wednesday and Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who unveiled the Kinzhal missile in 2018, has termed it “an ideal weapon” that is extremely difficult for missile defenses to intercept.

“I congratulate the Ukrainian people on the historic event,” General Mykola Oleshchuk said on Telegram. “Yes, we shot down the ‘unparalleled’ Kinzhal” missile.

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The Ukraine Air Force said the missile was shot down with a Patriot air-defense system in skies over Kyiv at around 2:30 am on Thursday (2330 GMT Wednesday).

Ukraine appealed to its Western allies to help reinforce its air defense system as Russia pounded Ukraine energy infrastructure from the air over winter.

Mid-April, Ukraine received the first Patriots, seen as one of the most advanced US air defense systems.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the system would “significantly” strengthen Ukraine’s defenses against Russian strikes.

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