Espreso. Global

Russia's massive missile attack details: there are cases of using munitions that have not been utilized before. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

3 January, 2024 Wednesday

The Russian attack was aimed at the largest cities — Kyiv and Kharkiv. To overcome Ukraine's air defense, the Russian military used concentrated attack tactics

Russia's missile attack on January 2

Yesterday, January 2, at night, the invading Russian forces launched another long-range attack on Ukraine using almost the entire arsenal available, from Shaheds to hypersonic missiles. This was the second massive attack in the last five days. The Russian attack this time targeted the largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv. The enemy used concentrated strike tactics to overcome air defense. Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said that the Russians launched 99 missiles of various types yesterday, 72 of which were shot down. Ukrainian air defense forces also managed to shoot down 10 out of 10 Kinzhal air defense missiles, which is a unique result.

Oleksandr Ruvin, Director of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, said that the institute's specialists visited the sites where the Russians used all weapons on December 29 and yesterday. These were not attacks on energy infrastructure, but on industrial facilities, and they were deliberate attacks on civilian areas. Almost all the evidence has now been collected. We are currently conducting research. We hope that more detailed information will be provided soon. We already have rough information about what came from where. At almost all the sites where the "Kinzhals" fell, their fragments were found, which confirms that these are "Kinzhals". We can now say for sure where the "Kinzhals" were used and where they came from. The wreckage of these missiles was found mainly at industrial facilities.

The expert noted that on December 29 and yesterday, the Russian forces used Kh-101 missiles, which were produced in the 3-4 quarters of 2023. This is the 97th series of these missiles, which are the latest. The Russians have probably already run out of the previous version of these missiles.

Ruvin added that the Russian army used "black Shaheds", which everyone is talking about, and there are many cases when gray Shahed drones are painted black. But there are also new ones that are produced directly in Russia. They are made of a slightly different material, which is why they differ from Iranian drones, also have different designations and begin with the letter K.

The expert noted that yesterday the Russians used a Kh-55 missile that did not explode and was without a warhead with a nuclear munition simulator. As for the heat traps that everyone is talking about, they are not really heat traps. These are dipole reflectors that the Russians acquired in the 3-4 quarters of last year. They use them to mislead Ukrainian electronic warfare and radar systems. A glowing aerosol cloud is fired around the missiles. These new reflectors have appeared on Kh-101 missiles and other missiles used by Russia.

The director of the research institute said that on December 29, the Russians used S-400 missiles, modification 48M6, and there were a lot of them. As for yesterday's attack, nothing can be said yet about the use of S-400. Because in those places where there were experts, they were not found. Mostly, there were Kh-101 remnants, "Kinzhals" and other missiles, which were found for the second time. An investigation is currently underway to determine what kind of missiles they are. The S-400 missiles were also produced in the 3-4 quarter of 2023 with a new body. Russia has used them before, they are the 48th series.

Oleksandr shared information that there were several cases of using munitions that Russians had not used before. The exact information is still being verified. But we can say that these are very serious weapons that have not been used before. Maybe it's the new "Kinzhals", but we think it's something else. We will report on this shortly.

Air defense and missile defense counteraction to Russian missile attacks

And further, we will clarify certain military aspects related to Russian tactics and means of countering this enemy missile invasion, which is obviously not the last, given the constant practice of missile terror, especially in winter.

Ihor Romanenko, charitable foundation Let's Close the Skies of Ukraine founder, general, deputy chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff in 2006-2010, noted that if the invading Russian army uses more than a hundred strike means, this leads to the fact that in some cases air defense and missile defense forces are technically and tactically unable to process the flow of these targets. The enemy knows this, so it is not the first time that it has organized this kind of air strike, having gathered a massive number of missiles and "Shaheds". We saw that starting in the evening of January 1, the Russians used "Shaheds", followed by various types of missiles. They fired 10 Kinzhals, which are quasi-hypersonic missiles launched by specialized MiG-31K fighters. In addition, there were ballistic missiles of various types.

The general noted that the difference between the missile strikes on December 29 and January 2 was that on December 29, the power of the strikes was distributed over a larger number of targets. On January 2, the Russians focused on attacks on the capital and Kharkiv. Accordingly, this made it difficult for Ukrainian air defense and missile defense forces to fulfill their tasks. The main thing is that the air defense and missile defense systems have enough shells, and reloading time does not play a big role.

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