ISW: Russia used decoy missiles in recent attacks to deplete Ukrainian air defense
During a large-scale missile attack on Kyiv on December 8, Russian troops launched decoy missiles to deplete Ukraine's air defense system. However, the occupiers failed to achieve this goal: Russia has too few strategic bombers for this purpose.
However, most of Ukraine is not as well protected as the capital. The details were revealed by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Analysts drew attention to a report by a well-known Russian blogger. During the missile attack on Kyiv on December 8, Russian troops launched decoy missiles to deplete the air defense system. These were decoy missiles of the X-55 type, which visually resemble a modernized version of the X-101 missile.
It was the launch of decoy missiles that this blogger saw as the reason why real missiles failed to hit any targets in the Ukrainian capital.
"The blogger complained that it is almost impossible for Russian forces to launch enough X-55 decoy missiles to overwhelm Ukrainian air defense due to the limited number of Russian Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers. In the past, Russian forces have used X-55 missiles along with other variants of missiles and drones as decoys to overwhelm Ukrainian air defense and compensate for the depletion of precision missile stockpiles," ISW said.
At the same time, Ukrainian officials recognize that Ukraine does not have enough air defense assets to protect the entire territory from air strikes to the same extent as Kyiv is currently protected. And now, as military observer Kostiantyn Mashovets has noted, the Russian occupiers are conducting intensive aerial reconnaissance in preparation for large-scale missile strikes on targets in eastern and southern Ukraine.
For example, according to Mashovets, the attack on December 8 was preceded by seven reconnaissance flights conducted by the Russian military. They usually conduct one or two such flights per day.
"Russian forces are likely trying to counter Ukraine's limited air defense ahead of an expected large-scale winter campaign to strike Ukraine," ISW summarized.
Earlier, analysts stated that the Russian army had changed its defense tactics on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region. The occupiers are now relying more on massive artillery shelling. With its help, they hope to deplete the forces holding the bridgehead on the left bank of the Kherson region.