Espreso. Global

Russia's New Year attack on Ukraine is equivalent to tactical nuclear weapon strike

5 January, 2024 Friday

Russia launched a massive combined missile attack on Ukraine on New Year's Day. This attack can be compared to the use of tactical nuclear weapons

Military expert Oleksandr Kovalenko has analyzed the most recent aerial attacks, Obozrevatel reports.

Destructive potential

During the period of New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and post-New Year's celebrations, the Russian troops launched hundreds of Shahed-131/136 'kamikaze' drones and dozens of missiles of various types and capacities into Ukraine. But what was the destructive potential of this entire arsenal compared to, for example, nuclear weapons?

During the holiday season, a total of 230 Shahed-131/136 'kamikaze' drones were used in Ukraine. The average weight of a Shahed-131/136 warhead is 40 kg, which results in a total weight of 9,200 kg.

As for the missile potential of the Russian occupation forces used during these days, it was very diverse in terms of both functionality and power.

For example, the most massive missile was the Kh-101/555/55 cruise missile, with 160 units used in total. Each of these missiles has a warhead weighing 400 kg, or 64,000 kg in total.

Eight Kh-22/32 missiles were used, with a warhead weight of 950 kg each, or 7,600 kg in total.

There were 15 Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles with a total striking power of 7,500 kg.

3 Kalibrs or 1,350 kg.

The category of 9M723/9M728 Iskander and S-300 ballistic missiles is problematic for accounting. Official sources do not provide any specifics on how many of each type of missile were used. Data on them is given simultaneously, although in fact the missiles have completely different functionality and characteristics.

During this time, more than 30 targets with ballistic trajectories were recorded; nonetheless, it is challenging to categorize them. After all, the S-300/400 missiles' warheads can weigh as much as 150 kg, depending on the modification, while the warhead of the 9M723/9M728 missiles weighs 500 kg.

Therefore, for comparison, we take into account the total weight of known munitions used by Russia - 89,650 kg, but do not forget that the additional weight can reach up to 15,000 kg.

Comparison with nuclear weapons

“When we talk about nuclear weapons, their yield is measured in megatons or kilotons. And everyone knows that the measure of a kiloton is 1,000,000 kg. It would seem that even taking into account the maximum value of the total weight of the warheads used in Ukraine, 105,000 kg falls short of the potential of nuclear weapons. But in reality, this is not the case,” Kovalenko says.

The fact is that the arsenal of weapons deployed by Russia for the New Year's holidays fully corresponds to and even surpasses some types of tactical nuclear weapons.

The M388 bullet, for instance, is among the tiniest examples of tactical nuclear weapons and was employed in the Davy Crockett artillery system project. The cannon, a 120-mm M28 or 155-mm M29, was the weapon. The projectile had an output of 10 to 20 tons of TNT equivalent and weighed 34 kg. The projectile was intended to target Soviet troop concentrations, particularly armored divisions.

In addition, it is worth mentioning anti-bunker bombs, which also have limited ammunition, etc.

“It may not be correct to draw such analogies, but the fact remains that on New Year's Day, Russia used an arsenal comparable in power to repeated tactical nuclear weapons strikes against Ukraine,” the military expert concluded.

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