correspond to the outer shape of the missile, but

according to others, they are part of the internal

assembly of the Kinzhal and therefore have

nothing to do with the outer shape.

What’s interesting, is the hole in the body

of the downed rocket. This corresponds to the

hit by the Patriot system. This is because the

PAC-3 version missiles do not primarily use an

explosive warhead with shrapnel that, when

exploding near an enemy missile, might not

destroy it. When the first versions of Patriot

were deployed, it happened that the enemy

missile was merely damaged and kept falling

along the ballistic curve. The PAC-3 was

therefore developed specifically to destroy

ballistic missiles. There are 180 small nozzles

on the body of the PAC-3 missile, which are used

for fine maneuvering. It also has an improved

active radar, so it guides itself to the target. This

allows it to react quickly to the movement of an

enemy missile and destroy it with a direct hit by

its kinetic energy.

Six more kills

After this setback, Russia sought to destroy

the Patriot batteries at all costs, or at least

deplete their ammunition supply. During the

course of May, Kiev faced as many as twenty

attacks. Not only did their number increase,

but also their intensity. In the period under

review, Russia fired 16 % of the number of

missiles it had fired in the previous 15 months.

This is three times the average. Attacks have

also been intensified. The aim was to keep the

Patriot batteries in place, detect their location

and then destroy them by continuous shelling.

Therefore, the attacks mostly started with

suicide drones, continued with cruise missiles,

and ended with Kinzhals. One of the strongest

attacks came on Tuesday, May 16 – this is the

one where Vyacheslav mentions shooting down

six Kinzhals.

The Russian goal that night was clearly

to overwhelm the Patriot. They fired a large

number of different missiles from the north,

south and east all at once. Aircraft fired Kinzhal

missiles, ships fired Kalibr missiles from the

Black Sea, and Iskander missiles were fired

from the ground. The Ukrainian side claimed

to have destroyed all the missiles despite the

extremely intense attack. The Russians, on the

other hand, boasted that one of their missiles

destroyed a Patriot system. However, the

latter cannot be destroyed in one hit because

it is made up of individual elements spaced far

apart. In addition to the launchers themselves,

there are the control and command modules

with radars, which can be several kilometres

away. The Russian claim can thus be described

as wishful thinking. The US Department of

Defense later said that the Patriot system

had suffered light damage but was repaired

July 2023

and fully operational again in a few days.

The activity of the Patriot system on the night

of May 16 was also captured in videos that were

posted live on social media. Recognizing the

importance of Patriots for the protection of its

cities, Ukraine’s secret service cracked down

on the bloggers who posted the videos. This is

because they can provide the Russians with

information about the current location of the

batteries, which is very sensitive. The Russians

did not give up for a whole month. At the end of

May came a series of attacks that took place at

night, during the day, and then again at night –

that is, virtually continuously. They had hardly

attacked during the day until then. They also

tried different tactics. For example, in addition

to the different directions and heights of the

attacks, cruise missiles and suicide drones

circled the site near Kiev, just to lure the air

defense forces into action. However, none of this

led to success. Other cities, however, are not as

well protected, and this is causing damage and

loss of lives in them.

A falling Russian Mi-8MTPR-1 from the 15th Army

Aviation Brigade shot down in Bryansk Oblast on May 13.

Black Day of the Russian Air Force

However, despite all the workload, Ukraine

was able to use its air defence systems to

attack, or rather to set a trap for the Russian air

force. The latter has made a habit of attacking

with glide bombs from its territory into northern

Ukraine with impunity. However, this changed

on Saturday May 13, which became a truly black

day. In fact, an entire strike group preparing to

launch its deadly payload on Ukrainian targets

was shot down in the Bryansk region.

Two Mi-8 helicopters, a Su-34 bomber and

a Su-35 fighter hit the ground in succession.

They all went down engulfed in flames and

smoke. Photographs of the wreckage showed

shrapnel holes and all nine crew members of

these aircraft lost their lives.

To this day, it is unclear what exactly

happened. Initial reports spoke of a mistake by

the Russian air defenses, but official Russian

sources said that the destruction of the Russian

Burning wreckage of a Russian Mi-8MTPR-1 on the

ground near the village of Klincy.

air force machines was the work of saboteurs

and launched a large-scale ground operation to

catch them. Unofficial Russian military bloggers,

however, have been writing from the beginning

A photo of this Russian Mi-8, which had crashed sometime earlier under unknown circumstances,

also surfaced during May.

INFO Eduard