The US-made Patriot missile system downed five military aircraft over Bryansk Region in May, a military official has claimed
The Ukrainian military used a Western-supplied Patriot long-range missile system to take down five military aircraft over Russia’s border Bryansk Region in May, Air Forces spokesman Igor Ignat told journalists on Monday. Kiev had promised not to use donated weapons outside of territories that were part of Ukraine before 2014.
The official praised Ukrainian troops for what he jokingly described as “the Bryansk massacre.” They used the US-made weapon system to destroy a Su-34 fighter jet, a Su-35 fighter jet, two Mi-8 electronic warfare helicopters, and another Mi-8 helicopter, Ignat said.
“It was a brilliant operation under the leadership of the commander of the Air Forces,” he noted, claiming that the “massacre” was complete in just five minutes.
Ukraine has been provided with two prized MIM-104 Patriot batteries, one directly by the US and another by European NATO allies.
The Patriot attack reportedly took place on May 13. The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on the incident, but Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Moscow, reported at the time that Russia had lost two planes and two helicopters. Bryansk Region Governor Aleksandr Bogomaz said a civilian woman was injured on the ground after a helicopter crash.
The losses were discussed in the Russian media, some of which speculated that Ukrainian troops may have infiltrated across the border to ambush the aircraft with short-range missiles, or managed to covertly deploy some medium-range systems close to the border.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has claimed that the supply of arms to Kiev was conditional on a policy, which prohibits the use of donated weapons outside of what Ukraine considers its territory.
Army General Mark Milley, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reiterated the restriction in May, after a Kiev-backed militia force armed with Western armored vehicles launched a cross-border raid in Russia’s Belgorod Region.
“This is a Ukrainian war. It is not a war between the United States and Russia. It’s not a war between NATO and Russia,” Milley said at the time.
Concerns over how Kiev would use new capabilities reportedly prevented the US from providing ATACMs ground-launched missiles until last month, when Washington acceded to the pleas of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
The US support for NATO’s training of Ukrainian pilots on how to operate F-16 jets is based on what Biden called a “flat assurance” by Zelensky, that the Western-made aircraft would not go into Russian territory once transferred to Ukraine.
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