MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. The Ukrainian armed forces can’t shoot down Russian ballistic missiles such as the Iskander-M, S-300 air defense missiles and Smerch rockets, in addition to hypersonic Kinzhal and Kh-22 missiles, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yury Ignat said in an interview aired on Thursday.
"We don’t shoot down ballistic missiles, for example Iskander-M," he said in the interview with Ukraine’s 24 channel. "Also, unfortunately, we don’t have the capability to intercept rockets fired by multiple launch rocket systems such as Smerch."
"All these missiles fly fast, along a ballistic trajectory and essentially swoop down on a target with a huge speed," he continued. "It takes specialized air defense missile systems to shoot down something that’s already falling."
"We also treat S-300 air defense guided missiles as ballistic ones," the spokesman went on to say.
Ukraine also is unable to shoot down Oniks supersonic cruise missiles.
"There’s also no capability to shoot down Kh-31P specialized air-borne anti-radar missiles and similar air-to-surface missiles with a shorter range," Ignat went on to say.
He said that the Ukrainian air defense system can counter only those missiles that its equipment has specifications for.
"The main systems that we have in service are Buk-M1 and S-300," he said, adding there is a "critical need" for more advanced air defense systems.
Ignat said Ukraine has been unable to shoot down a single Kh-22 supersonic cruise missile as its speed is so high that an S-300 is unable to fly quickly enough for interception.
"In order to shoot down the Kh-22 Ukraine need a missile system that can operate automatically, meaning it will make decisions itself, without any humans involved, utilizing the latest radar and an advanced missile," he said.
But even that wouldn’t be enough.
Earlier, Ignat stated that the Ukrainian national air defense system is not capable of shooting down Russian Kinzhal and Kh-22 hypersonic missiles. According to the Washington Post, Russia's use of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in Ukraine has shown that the US and its allies do not possess similar weapons that are as hard to intercept, even with advanced missile defense systems. According to some Russian and Western experts, there’s no guarantee that even advanced air defense systems can shoot down a missile fired by the latest Russian system.