A Ukrainian soldier shot down a cruise missile using just a machine gun, officials say

A Ukrainian soldier shot down a cruise missile using just a machine gun, officials say
  • The Air Force of Ukraine claims that one of its soldiers downed a Russian missile using just a machine gun.

  • The feat took place during a massive Russian aerial bombardment on June 12, it said.

  • Experts have previously told BI that takedowns like this are extremely difficult.

A Ukrainian soldier successfully downed a Russian cruise missile using just a machine gun, according to claims from the Ukrainian armed forces.

The feat took place over the Kyiv region during a massive Russian aerial bombardment overnight on June 12, Ukraine's Air Force Command said on Thursday.

Business Insider could not independently verify the claim.

When the bombardment alert came in, "they told us over the radio that our target was close," the soldier, identified as Serhii, said, according to Ukrainska Pravda's translation.

"Seconds later, we saw an enemy missile heading towards Vasylkiv," he continued, referring to a small city roughly 10 miles south of Kyiv.

Serhii said he didn't hesitate to open fire, adding: "After I fired from the machine gun, I saw the missile starting to veer off course and descend."

A close-up of a pocked and pierced piece of metal debris which the Ukrainian air force claims is the remains of a cruise missile shot down by the machine gun of a soldier named Serhii on June 12, 2024. The picture was released on June 21, 2024.
A close-up of debris that Ukrainian Air Force Command says came from the downed missile.Air Force Command of Ukraine/Facebook

Serhii, formerly a civilian doctor who uses the callsign "Dr. Mom," said he only believed he'd shot the missile down after he saw the debris on the ground.

Experts examining similar past claims — such as a January report of a Russian cruise missile being shot down by a Soviet-era antiaircraft gun — told BI's Sinéad Baker that such feats are extremely difficult.

Serhii acknowledged that the claimed shoot-down was a very difficult thing to achieve, but said his sense of responsibility had made the "impossible possible," per The New Voice of Ukraine's translation.

An official Ukrainian account of that night's bombardment said that Russia had launched a volley of six missiles — including at least four cruise missiles — and 24 Shahed drones, with all but one of the missiles shot down.

Air defense units were deployed in multiple Ukrainian regions, including Kyiv, officials said.

Ukraine's recently replenished stockpiles of US-supplied antiaircraft missiles were instrumental in repelling the attack, The New York Times reported at the time.

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