‘Two Patriots destroyed’: Russia saying it was an S-300, not Patriot

Social media platforms are currently abuzz with a video that certain accounts claim showcases the decimation of two M901 launchers for the MIM-104, purportedly supplied by Germany. These accounts assert that Russian forces utilized Iskander ballistic missiles for this operation. 

'Two Patriots destroyed': Russia saying it was an S-300, not Patriot
Video screenshot

The footage presents a massive explosion, typically indicative of launcher-ammo presence. According to these social media accounts, this serves as the initial confirmation of the obliterated Patriot M901 launchers. 

However, counter to the circulating claims, Russia’s Defence Ministry had to intervene to debunk parts of these allegations. Through their official Telegram channel, the Ministry clarified that the explosive imagery actually corresponds to the destruction of a Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, not the aforementioned Patriot. They did, nonetheless, confirm the use of the Iskander ballistic missile during this operation. Further details divulged by the Ministry suggest that the scene of devastation was in the area of Pokrovsk, nestled in Donetsk.

The latest claims

Rumors have been swirling since the end of January this year, suggesting that Russia has successfully annihilated two Patriot systems. However, you’ll find it interesting to know that there has been no official confirmation of this claim from either Ukrainian or Western sources. 

Let’s dig a little deeper. To date, the only verified instance of a Patriot being destroyed happened last year. The incident revolved around a decommissioned Patriot complex’s launcher, which was hit in the residential areas of Kyiv. Sounds catastrophic, right? Yet, it’s worth noting that, based on credible sources from the US, the damage didn’t wreak considerable havoc and the setup was duly removed for repairs.

Iskander strikes again

It’s no secret that the Iskander land-based ballistic missile system has been under scrutiny in recent weeks. To jog your memory, just a few short days ago, it came to light that the American-furnished HIMARS MLRS was annihilated by none other than Iskander. 

Recently, the first instances of a decimated HIMARS have cropped up. This revelation has garnered official recognition from Ukraine, Russia, and the USA. In the past, Russia has often asserted that they’ve shattered HIMARS, but these claims have remained unconfirmed by Ukraine or its Western allies. 

The deployment of Iskander against HIMARS has sparked a flurry of inquiries, the most recent being from Roman Kostenko, the secretary of the parliamentary committee of Ukraine. He posed, “It’s quite a complex process to aim an Iskander missile in such a manner… I am eager for the experts to divulge why this occurred – it’s apparent that the HIMARS was launched from a concealed location, and now it’s clear that enemy surveillance has increased their efforts to pinpoint the location of the HIMARS,” Kostenko shared with the Ukrainian media.

NASA: Russia hit Mirgorod MiG-24 base with ballistic missiles - Iskander-M
Photo credit: Reddit

Russia is taking a risk

From mid-February to the present, there’s been a significant trend in Ukraine. This trend suggests that the Russian leadership, responsible for the special military operation in Ukraine—a term they prefer over ‘war’ or ‘invasion’, is taking substantial risks. This risk is evident in the deployment of the Su-57 into the conflict region. If the claims that Ukraine has succeeded in shooting down at least twelve Su-34s are accurate, it further emphasizes these risks. 

Despite the challenging circumstances, the Russian military persists in utilizing the ground and aviation resources within their reach. Recent news from Russia verifies that the FAB-1500-M54, one of their most powerful bunker-busting bombs, has now entered mass production. This bomb made its debut in the Ukrainian conflict last year, however, it was available only in limited quantities at the time. The bomb’s destructive capacity is so vast that its explosion generates a fireball as tall as a 20-story apartment building.

Su-57 Felon entered Ukraine and flew in the Luhansk airspace
Photo by Andrei Shmatko

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On February 21, 2022, Russia stated that its border facility was attacked by Ukrainian forces, resulting in the deaths of five Ukrainian fighters. However, Ukraine quickly dismissed these allegations, labeling them as ‘false flags’.

In a notable move on the same day, Russia announced it officially recognized the self-proclaimed areas of DPR and LPR. Interestingly, according to Russian President Putin, this recognition covered all the Ukrainian regions. Following this declaration, Putin sent a battalion of Russia’s military forces, tanks included, into these areas.

Fast forward to February 24, 2022, global headlines were dominated by a significant incident. Putin commanded a forceful military assault on Ukraine. Led by Russia’s impressive Armed Forces positioned at the Ukrainian border, this assault wasn’t spontaneous but a premeditated action. Despite the circumstances resembling a war, the Russian government refrains from using this term. They’d rather refer to it as a “special military operation”.

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