The United States has agreed to supply Ukraine with its most advanced air defense system, the Patriot missile.


  • Ukraine successfully shot down 18 Russian missiles Tuesday
  • At least 6 missiles were hypersonic Kinzhal missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads
  • An expert said Ukraine's success is proof that Western air defense systems could intercept all Russian nuclear missiles

The United States could fully intercept nuclear missiles that Russia may launch should it decide to escalate the conflict in Ukraine, an expert suggested.

On Tuesday, Russia launched at least 18 missiles targeting the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, including six sophisticated hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, which can carry conventional or nuclear warheads. However, Ukraine successfully intercepted all the missiles.

While it is unclear whether Kyiv used the U.S. Patriot air defense system to intercept the missiles, Fabian Hoffman — a doctoral research fellow at the Oslo Nuclear Project — suggested that Ukraine's success could serve as proof that Western air defense systems have the capability to shoot down nuclear missiles that Russia deploys if it decides to launch a nuclear attack.

"If I was a Russian nuclear strategist today, I would be very worried. You just received proof of concept that Western air and missile defenses can intercept 100% of your tactical nuclear delivery vehicles (SRBM, BM, aircraft) in a time-coordinated, multi-vector attack," Hoffman wrote in a tweet. "You must also wonder what this means for the Russian (or Chinese for that matter) strategic nuclear deterrent. Yes, shooting down ICBMs is a whole different kind of challenge and may never be feasible. But the 'what if' must loom large today."

Hoffman later clarified that Ukraine's success in shooting down all 18 Russian missiles does not "nullify Russia's nuclear deterrent," but argued that it might force Russian President Vladimir Putin to "rethink" the effectiveness and survivability of some of his army's nuclear delivery vehicles.

Russia's latest missile barrage comes after it launched "unsuccessful offensive actions" in several locations to the west and southwest of the embattled city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, according to a report from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In contrast, Ukrainian forces have so far reclaimed about 20 square kilometers (7.5 square miles) of territory from Russian forces in the past few days, with new gains made Tuesday, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar announced in a Telegram post.

Maliar, however, reiterated that Russia is sending in new paratroopers to the city and that heavy fighting is continuing between Kyiv's and Moscow's forces.

A missile strike in Kyiv