There was an unusual feature to the Saturday morning attack on Kyiv: It appeared to best the air-raid warning system.
That is because the Russian strike most likely involved ballistic missiles fired from the north, according to Col. Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force.
Colonel Ihnat did not elaborate, but ballistic missiles are much faster and harder to shoot down than either drones or cruise missiles. His comments on Saturday — that the missiles appeared to come from the north — suggested that the flight path was too short to give an earlier warning.
In launching attacks on Ukraine, the Russian forces have fired ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and Iranian-made exploding drones. Ukrainian officials have expressed fears that Russia will also turn to Tehran to replenish its stocks of ballistic missiles. Iran has denied plans to sell ballistic missiles to Russia.
The missiles Moscow is purportedly seeking to acquire from Iran are similar to the Iskander missiles that Russia has used since the outset of its invasion in February. Western military analysts and Ukrainian officials say Russia is turning to Iran because its stocks of Iskanders have been severely depleted.
The Biden administration said last month it would supply Ukraine with a Patriot missile battery, the most advanced American air defense system, which — unlike others used by Ukraine — can shoot down ballistic missiles flying at several times the speed of sound. Germany is also sending Ukraine a Patriot missile system from its stockpiles.