WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system being used by Ukraine likely suffered some damage from a Russian strike, two U.S. officials said on Tuesday, adding that it did not appear to have been destroyed.
The Patriot system is one of an array of sophisticated air defense units supplied by the West to help Ukraine repel a Russian campaign of air strikes that has targeted critical infrastructure, power facilities and other sites.
One U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity and citing initial information, said Washington and Kyiv were already talking about the best way to repair the system and at this point it did not appear the system would have to be removed from Ukraine.
The official added that the United States would have a better understanding in the coming days and information could change over time.
The Patriot is considered to be one of the most advanced U.S. air defense systems, including against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. It typically includes launchers along with radar and other support vehicles.
Russia's defense ministry said on Tuesday that it had destroyed a U.S.-built Patriot surface-to-air missile defense system with a "hypersonic" Kinzhal missile in an overnight strike on Ukraine.
Ukraine said earlier that it had shot down 18 Russian missiles overnight, including an entire volley of six Kinzhals. When asked about the Ukrainian claim, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu dismissed it, the RIA news agency reported.
It was not clear which Western weapon Ukraine used. The Pentagon had no immediate comment.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Phil Stewart and Mike Stone; editing by Grant McCool)