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Review

Russia attacks Ukraine with newly produced Kh-101 missile. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

9 May, 2024 Thursday
11:16

The serial number of the Kh-101 missile that was shot down near Kyiv on May 8 indicates that it was manufactured in the second quarter of 2024. That is, the Russians used this missile for the attack literally off the assembly line. The second feature of this missile is that it had a double warhead

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Russia launched missile attack on Ukraine on May 8

After almost a two-week pause, on May 8, Russia again launched a combined missile strike on the territory of Ukraine. The Russians used 76 munitions. In particular, cruise and ballistic missiles, as well as UAVs. The Air Force Command reported that it managed to intercept 57 targets. No ballistic missiles were shot down. It is known that Russia's main targets were electricity generation and transmission facilities. Despite the powerful air defense of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the invaders managed to hit critical infrastructure facilities. As a result, Ukrenergo reported that there may be restrictions on the supply of electricity to household and industrial consumers throughout Ukraine.

The downed Kh-101 missile near Kyiv was produced in the second quarter of 2024

Regarding the Kh-101 cruise missiles, of which 45 were used in yesterday's attack, we managed to get a photo of the wreckage of the rocket that was shot down near Kyiv. This wreckage provides us with interesting information. In particular, the serial number of this missile shows that it was manufactured in the second quarter of 2024. That is, the Russians used this missile for the attack literally from the assembly line. The second feature of this missile is that it had a double warhead. In other words, in addition to the main warhead weighing 450 kg, the missile had an additional warhead weighing 350 kg. The Russians began using such missiles with a dual warhead in March. This indicates that the invaders have begun to look for options for a more effective strike on our facilities. The Kh-101 missile was shot down by our air defense system, and against this background, the question of strengthening Ukraine's air defense capabilities is once again being raised.

Romania may send Ukraine a battery of Patriot air defense systems

Ukraine is constantly asking its partners to transfer more Patriot systems. It is known that Ukraine has 3 batteries of Patriot air defense systems. Germany has promised to give us another battery. As for the supply of these systems from Israel, which is taking them off combat duty, this discussion is still ongoing. However, it became known that Romania may strengthen the protection of Ukrainian skies. After a meeting with Joe Biden, the Romanian president said he was ready to discuss the possibility of supplying Ukraine with Patriot air defense systems. However, this will happen after he holds governmental consultations in Romania. Romania has one Patriot battery, but three more have been ordered. In fact, one of the three Patriot systems ordered from the US may be transferred to Ukraine. So far, these are just political statements and we should only wait for them to be realized.

Russia's nuclear threats are preparations for the NATO summit in Washington

Oleksii Yizhak, an analyst at the National Institute for Strategic Studies, believes that Russians are now trying to restore the world's fear of nuclear weapons. According to him, this is the reason for the announcement of the upcoming exercises with the use of tactical nuclear weapons and the testing of nuclear forces in Belarus. The analyst emphasized that there is a lot of strangeness in all these actions. For example, the announcement of the inspection and training of nuclear forces in Belarus refers to Su-25 aircraft, which were created and used as non-nuclear carriers in the Soviet Union. In general, the Russians are trying to continue blackmailing with nuclear weapons. After all, regardless of how one views Russia's nuclear threats, it has long been clear that NATO countries will not be directly involved in a Russian-Ukrainian war.

The partners are ready to supply Ukraine with weapons, but they will not involve their troops. The United States is sticking to this line. However, as Yizhak noted, France and the United Kingdom are changing their rhetoric on the involvement of troops and the use of their weapons in Russia. In particular, the UK allows the use of their missiles on the territory of the Russian Federation. As for France, there have even been reports that their military personnel are already in Ukraine. This is the reason for Russia's nuclear threats. Thus, according to Yizhak, the Kremlin is preparing for the NATO summit. Because Russia is very much afraid of what will be written in the final declaration of the summit. In particular, the fact that the declaration may very vaguely state that NATO is not a party to the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Russia is not ready for large-scale nuclear rearmament

Analyst Oleksii Yizhak believes that it will be very difficult for Russia to catch up with the United States in terms of nuclear rearmament. Currently, Russia does not have enough money for such actions. As for the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement about threats from the United States in other parts and mirror actions on their part, the Russians are probably referring to the US PRSM missiles. According to Yizhak, this type of missile is supposed to completely replace the ATACMS in the US Army, which could not be used with a nuclear warhead. PRSM missiles can be equipped with a nuclear warhead. Speaking of retaliatory actions, the Russians are probably talking about the long-range Iskander or the ground-based version of the Kalibr missiles. However, these are just statements, and it is very difficult to imagine what Russia means by "symmetrical" actions.

Oleksii Yizhak also expressed doubts about Russian missiles that are nuclear armed. According to him, the reliability of such Russian missiles may be very low. Since all Russian missiles, which could theoretically be equipped with a nuclear warhead, were created after many of Russia's nuclear programs were terminated. However, there may still be nuclear warheads for the Kalibr and Iskander-M missiles that were made in Soviet times. According to Yizhak, this is not a threat that could not be covered by modern air defense systems, including the Patriot missile system.

According to Oleksii Yizhak, all nuclear threats by the Russian Federation have more of a political and psychological component than technical components for the creation and use of nuclear weapons. However, these threats should not be completely ignored. The threat of nuclear weapons used by Russia will always exist. Yizhak did not rule out the possibility that at some point the Russians might resort to the use of nuclear weapons. For example, when their nuclear blackmail does not work.

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