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"It took several months of experiments": ISW explains what was behind Russia's massive strike on Ukraine on December 29

ISW assesses Russia's missile attack on Ukraine on December 29

Russia's massive air attack on Ukraine on December 29 was the culmination of several months of Russian experiments with various combinations of drones and missiles, as well as attempts to test Ukraine's air defense. The Russians learned some lessons as our defenders were unable to intercept any of the X-22/X-32, ballistic (S-300 and Iskander-M), and hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.

Their tactic of diverting air defense attention to the drones, the launch of which preceded the missile attack, also worked. This conclusion was reached by analysts of the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

It is noted that over the past few months, Russian troops have been experimenting a lot: they have launched a series of missile and drone strikes of various scales, using various combinations of UAVs and cruise and ballistic missiles. For the most part, they used either exclusively Shahed-136/131 drones or a part of them accompanied by fewer missiles. The package launched against Ukraine on December 29, on the other hand, contained 36 Shahed drones and 120 missiles of various types.

Representatives of the Ukrainian military command, including Air Force spokesman Colonel Yurii Ihnat, have long noted that the occupiers often use UAVs to study Ukrainian air defense and identify ways to bypass them.

Analysts have concluded that Russia may have deliberately accumulated different types of missiles during the fall and early winter of 2023 to create a more diverse package of strikes. The occupiers were also able to apply the lessons learned from various recent reconnaissance and research operations, including the use of drones to bypass Ukrainian air defense while simultaneously using missiles to inflict maximum damage on their intended targets.

As a reminder, on December 29, the Kremlin's war criminals launched at least 158 air attack weapons against Ukraine: missiles of various types and attack UAVs. The air defense forces destroyed 27 Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs and 87 X-101/X-555/X-55 cruise missiles, a total of 114 objects.

As reported by OBOZ.UA:

- On December 29, in the midst of Russia's massive air attack on Ukraine, an "unknown" object flew into Polish airspace. Later, the Polish General Staff stated that it was a Russian missile.

- Poland appealed to Russia to explain the incident of a missile from a terrorist state flying into Polish airspace. Moscow was demanded to "stop such activities".

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