Military Aviation

Moscow is wasting its stock of cruise missiles to target whatever facilities it thinks might hide Western weapons because Russian Army can’t track the flow of Western arms into Ukraine

Moscow seems to be both clueless and desperate about the fact that the Russian Federation Army lacks the means at least to find, not to talk about precisely strike and thus interrupt the flow of Western arms into Ukraine.

Much of the Western, but also the media elsewhere seems to still be babbling about ongoing negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, and expecting some sort of a peace deal. Indeed, it seems that some of Western politicians are getting tired of the war, and quite a few of politicians elsewhere are trying to push Kyiv into concessions — if for no other reason than to restore the interrupted supply of food from Ukraine.

Well, sorry to disappoint, but: any peace deals would take at least two, and right now I do not see even one. Regardless who is said to be guaranteeing what, Putin’s not even seriously negotiating: this is unsurprising because it would be a ‘political suicide’ for him to accept anything less than ‘at least protection’ of Russia-controlled Donbass (which in turn would be a far cry from all of what he still demands). On the other side, to me it appears the mass of Ukrainians have concluded that a peace deal with Russia is impossible as long as any RFA troops are still in the country — and then no matter where.

So, as a matter of fact, this war is going to be decided on the battlefield.

Moscow seems to be both clueless and desperate about the fact that the Russian Federation Army (RFA) lacks the means at least to find, not to talk about precisely strike and thus interrupt the flow of Western arms into Ukraine. Instead, the RFA reverted to the most primitive means of searching for targets: ‘scouting by fire’. That is, the Russians are wasting their continuously decreasing stock of cruise missiles to target whatever storage facilities they think might be used to hide Western weapons.

With other words: after the despicable strikes on hospitals and apartment buildings, the new priority for Russian targeting lists in Ukraine are hangars, garages, warehouses etc. A ‘good example’ of this occurred in the Dnipropetrovsk area, on May 1: a cruise missile went off in between two warehouses of an agricultural enterprise in the Synelynkovsky District. One hangar was badly damaged (see attached photo), the other destroyed.

On May 2, a P-800 Onyx cruise missile hit the Zatoka Bridge, south of Odessa. Another Onyx hit an apartment building in Odessa yesterday, killing a 14-years old child and wounding several others.

Talking about missile strikes: the Pentagon says the Russians have fired 1,215 ballistic missiles at Ukraine so far. Much less clear is the number of cruise missiles released by now: figures are ranging from around 900 to over 1,900. Part of this depends on what weapons are counted as such: for example, some seem to include Kh-35 (ASCC/NATO-codename ‘AS-20 Kayak’), Kh-59 Ovod (‘AS-13 Kingbolt’), and Kh-59M Ovod-M (‘AS-18 Kazoo’) land-attack/anti-ship missiles, apparently because the latter have, depending on variant, a range of up to 200km.

Of the Russian ‘flying stuff’, most active over the last two days were Russian Orlan reconnaissance UAVs — and then over all the frontlines in eastern and southern Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, the defenders claimed ten of these shots down on May 1 alone. Another eight were claimed as shot down on May 2, including a Forpost that attempted to reach Odessa (Forpost is the Russian version of the Israeli-made Searcher).

In turn, the Russians claimed a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter shot down by a MANPAD, but provided no details, and Moscow has published this video, purportedly shown destruction of the S-300 fire-control radar by an Iskander-K missile:

Check out Helion & Company website for books featuring interesting stories written by The Aviation Geek Club contributor Tom Cooper.

Read more reviews of most important developments in Ukraine written by Tom Cooper HERE.

Image Credit: Creative Commons

Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in the worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialisation in Middle Eastern, African and Asian air forces. As well as authoring and co-authoring 560 books and over 1,000 articles, he has co-authored the Arab MiGs book series – a six-volume, in-depth analysis of the Arab air forces at war with Israel, in the 1955–73 period. Cooper has been working as editor of the five @War series since 2017.

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