Russian Hypersonic Strikes on Ukraine’s New Patriot Missiles Likely Caused Mercenary Casualties - This is Why
Patriot Battery and MiG-31K with Kinzhal Missile
On May 16 as part of a broad spectrum of attacks on targets in the Ukrainian capital Kiev Russian Air Force MiG-31K strike fighters launched Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ballistic missiles to target Ukraine’s Patriot air defence systems. Recently delivered from Germany and the United States, Patriots are considered by far the most costly and high end weapons systems in Ukrainian service, and are very widely deployed both by seven NATO members and by key overseas strategic partners such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Israel. The strikes on the Patriots followed warnings form Russian officials, as well as from several analysts in the West, that any systems delivered to Ukraine would very quickly be targeted and destroyed after becoming operational. The reputational loss the Patriot was expected to suffer was thus reportedly a major factor leading Washington to hesitate to approve transfers of the assets. While a radar system and five missile batteries from the Patriot system were reported to have been destroyed in the MiG-31K strike, reportedly after firing 32 surface to air missiles as part of unsuccessful attempts to intercept the Kinzhal missiles, little remains known regarding casualties among the system’s crew or the nature of the personnel which were manning it when it was struck.
With Ukrainian personnel thus unlikely to have been manning the Patriot systems deployed in April and attacked in May, less than five months after the decision was taken to supply the systems, it is likely that contractors from NATO member states with experience operating the Patriots were the ones targeted. The scale of the destruction caused by the strikes means casualties among these personnel are likely, although they are unlikely to be disclosed at least until many years after the war’s conclusion.
entre les deux passages cités des considérations plus générales sur le rôle des #contractors