Espreso. Global

Missile battle for Kyiv: why is Russia stepping up its strikes?

31 May, 2023 Wednesday

Russia inflicts massive strikes with cruise and ballistic missiles on the Kyiv region. Moreover, it allocates a significant part of its production of high-precision missiles and strike drones to this and implements new tactics

  1. What is the enemy's objective? The enemy's primary goal is to target radars and anti-aircraft missile systems. They also aim to provoke air defense actions by attacking residential buildings and urban infrastructure.
  2. Why is Kyiv being targeted? Kyiv is under attack because it is the capital and holds strategic importance. Defending Kyiv requires a significant deployment of air defense forces due to its large population and critical infrastructure. If the attacks on Kyiv were to cease, Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile systems could be redeployed elsewhere. For the Russians, it is more advantageous for our Patriot systems to shoot down their Kinzhal missiles than to face a new situation like the one in Bryansk. It is worth noting that on May 13, unidentified anti-aircraft fighters shot down a Su-34 bomber, a Su-35S fighter, and two Mi-8MTPR-1 electronic warfare helicopters in the sky over the Bryansk region, resulting in the loss of all 11 crew members. Therefore, strikes on Kyiv are important for the enemy as they restrain our anti-aircraft defense and force us to concentrate our forces on defensive tasks.

  1. How do the Russian terrorists operate? The attacks are conducted in multiple waves, originating from different directions and altitudes, spanning several hours. These waves are sometimes repeated throughout the day and night. Simultaneously, false targets in the form of Kh-55 cruise missiles are launched to trigger air defense radars and aid in determining their location. Dozens of Shahed drones are also deployed on various trajectories. When the air defense system becomes active, the enemy gathers coordinates of the targets and attempts to strike the positions of radars and air defense systems using cruise and ballistic missiles such as Iskander-M, Iskander-K, Kinzhal, Kalibr, Kh-101, and various types of anti-radar missiles. These missiles are launched from ground-based launchers and aircraft, which take turns awaiting target coordinates. Evidently, the enemy's objective is to disable the anti-aircraft radars and missile systems for an extended period, making it difficult for them to relocate swiftly and respond to subsequent waves of attacks.

  1. Why at night? The timing of the attack at night is primarily driven by the enemy's concentration of reconnaissance assets, including electronic surveillance and space satellites. Prolonged radar operation allows them to pinpoint the positions of electronic reconnaissance forces, deplete the stock of anti-aircraft missiles, and expose themselves to various weapons, particularly anti-radar missiles aimed at the radiation source. Satellites play a role in documenting missile launches. Obtaining intelligence quickly, such as videos and photos of air defense equipment locations, enables the enemy to adjust their future strikes effectively.

  1. How long will it last? The duration of Russia's strikes on Kyiv and other strategically significant cities will be extensive, considering their tactics as a terrorist nation. Unfortunately, our state failed to strengthen and develop air defense forces prior to the war, leaving us with insufficient radar and anti-aircraft missile systems. We now depend on the pace of supply from our allies to establish a dense and impenetrable air defense.

  1. What should we do? Our priority is not to tie down our air defense forces in static positions, but rather to conduct operations while maintaining maneuverability. We must seek advantageous positions and swiftly change them to avoid retaliatory strikes. Ensuring optimal functioning of our complex military equipment, providing rest and combat effectiveness for personnel, analyzing enemy actions daily, and intelligently planning our next moves are crucial. Employing tactics such as deflecting Russian missiles toward false targets through effective camouflage and misinformation is important (an area where we are currently lacking). In any war, the primary challenge lies in command and administration rather than equipment or soldiers. The existence of an active air defense system poses a constant threat to the Russians, deterring their much larger forces. In modern warfare, there is no absolute security in the rear. Missiles will inevitably be launched, either targeting our defenders at the front or our cities. Some will remain sleepless, while others will find moments of rest. Everyone will bear the burden.

  1. What are the conclusions? In summary, the air-missile battle for Kyiv presents a favorable scenario for Ukraine as the best Russian high-precision weapons confront the well-equipped NATO systems armed with Ukrainian air defense. The majority of Russian missiles and drones are successfully intercepted, and not a single radar or anti-aircraft missile system in the Kyiv area was destroyed in May. While damage and near misses have occurred, they have not been fatal. Regrettably, the enemy inflicts harm on the city, but other cities suffer no less. From a political and informational standpoint, Russia's barbaric terrorist attacks on a European capital serve as a stark warning of what Putin is capable of doing to other European capitals unless concerted efforts are made to defeat him in Ukraine.


About the author: Yuriy Butusov, journalist, soldier of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors. 

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