December 29 strike is culmination of Russia's efforts to breach Ukraine's air defense system - ISW
The series of strikes launched by Russia on December 29 seems to be the culmination of several months of experimenting with different combinations of drones and missiles to test Ukraine's air defense
This was reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
On the morning of December 29, Russian forces carried out the largest series of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion.
The report notes that the strike package that Russian forces launched on December 29 appears to be a culmination of several months of Russian experimentation with various drone and missile combinations and efforts to test Ukrainian air defenses.
Analysts recall that over the past few months, Russian forces have conducted a series of missile and drone strikes of varying scale, using various combinations of drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.
According to the October 21 ISW assessment, Russian forces were likely diversifying the mix of missiles, glide bombs, and drones used in strike packages in order to determine weaknesses in Ukrainian air defense coverage to optimize a strike package such as the one that Russian forces launched on December 29.
Russia was likely deliberately stockpiling missiles of various sizes through the fall and early winter of 2023 in order to build a more diverse strike package and apply lessons learned over the course of various recent reconnaissance and probing missions, namely using Shahed drones to bypass Ukrainian air defenses while utilizing missiles to inflict maximal damage on intended targets.
Experts emphasize that Russia will continue to conduct large-scale strikes against Ukraine in an effort to undermine Ukrainian morale and Ukraine's ability to sustain its military efforts against Russia.
- On the night of December 29, Russia launched several groups of Shahed drones that attacked Ukraine, and in the morning, terrorists launched missiles. They hit multi-storey buildings, educational institutions, a shopping center and a maternity hospital.