The Russian invasion of Ukraine has come at an increasingly harsh time for the Ukrainian civilian population, due to Russian missile attacks.
Russia tries to limit its aircraft losses to Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses
The use of this type of weapon, often used against residential areas, is causing increasing casualties among the civilian population. Russia appears to have chosen this strategy having failed to secure its dominance over Ukrainian airspace, as the Ukrainian Air Force continues to operate its fighter jets, despite losses, and the Ukrainian ground forces are making very effective use of the Stinger and other types of surface-to-air missiles supplied by Western countries, leading the Russians to try to limit the use of their aircraft in attack missions.
Invaders are forced to use more sophisticated and less accurate missiles
This fact was pointed out yesterday by British Defence Intelligence: "Russia continues to rely on “stand-off” munitions launched from within Russian airspace, in order to reduce their aircrafts' exposure to Ukrainian air defence forces." That same report warned of failure rates of 60% and added that the systematic use of these weapons against Ukraine "will compound Russia’s problem of increasingly limited stocks forcing them to revert to less sophisticated missiles or accepting more risk to their aircraft."
Russia launched 70 missiles against Ukraine this Saturday: only 8 reached their targets
A day after the publication of that report, the Russian newspaper The Insider publishes a news that states the following: "On March 26, Russia fired a record number of rockets at Ukraine at one time, The Insider calculated based on the data. from their sources. 52 missiles were fired from the ships of the Black Sea Fleet from the waters of Sevastopol and at least 18 from the territory of Belarus. The total cost of these missiles exceeds $340 million in direct production costs at 2020 prices and, accounting for logistics, up to $500 million at a time with Black Sea Fleet ship offloads alone."
The surprise comes in the following paragraph of that news from the aforementioned Russian media: "At the same time, the Ukrainian air defense set a record for targets shot down: of at least 70 missiles fired by Russia, only eight flew. The rest were destroyed in the sky." The Insider points out that some of the missiles that hit Ukrainian soil fell in Lviv, a Ukrainian city located 70 kilometers from Poland, hitting "a fuel depot and a defense facility."
Ukraine could be receiving US-supplied anti-missile systems
This high rate of shooting down missiles by the Ukrainians may indicate two things: the first is that the Russians may be using older weapons, and therefore easier to shoot down, in line with what British Defence Intelligence pointed out yesterday. And the second is that Ukraine could be receiving more sophisticated anti-missile systems. Just yesterday, the Ukrainian newspaper European Pravda noted that Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has hinted at an agreement to reduce the number of Russian missiles hitting facilities in Ukraine.
"Today, in developing contacts between Presidents Zelensky and Biden, we agreed on the next steps to ensure that fewer such missiles fall on Ukrainian soil. And, of course, for Ukraine to win," Kuleba said. According to European Pravda, the announcement was made after talks with the US delegation led by President Biden in Warsaw.
The limited range of the missiles used by the Russians
The fact that the missiles in question were launched from the Black Sea Fleet and from Belarus could also indicate that Russia is resorting to shorter-range weapons to attack the western part of Ukraine, and that prevents it from launching from territory Russian. As an example, an Iskander-M missile (like the one in the photo at the top of these lines) has a maximum range of 400 kilometers, so it is not good enough to cover the 600 kilometers that there are, at least, between Russian territory and Lviv.
Theoretically, the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile, an air-launched variant of the Iskander-M with a range of 2,000 kilometers, could reach any point on Ukrainian soil without problems. If Russia is not using these weapons, it may be because their availability is more limited than previously thought.
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