Air Force notes different approach taken by Russia in overnight missile attack

16 February, 12:56 PM
The Air Force reported on Russia's new tactics during the missile attack (Photo:Command of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)

The Air Force reported on Russia's new tactics during the missile attack (Photo:Command of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)

Russia used missiles and drones in its overnight attack on Ukraine to probe the Ukrainian air defense system, rather than attacking with waves of its Iranian-made Shahed flying bomb drones as before, the Ukrainian Air Force’s chief spokesperson said on Feb. 16.

Ukrainians were awoken at 2.35 a.m. to the sounds of air raid sirens as Russia launched a barrage of cruise missiles at targets across the country. Some 36 missiles were fired, of which 16 were reported to have been shot down.

Air Force Command spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on Ukrainian television’s Channel 24 that Russia usually used Shahed drones at night to probe into Ukrainian air defense system, identifying positions and correcting for a possible missile attack in the morning. Last night, however, the Russians used missiles and UAVs for this.

Video of day

Additionally, the aggressor has begun to use false targets to wear down Ukrainian air defense forces.

False targets can come in the form of balloons with attacked radar reflectors, drones, and Kh-55 cruise missiles with dummy warheads, Ihnat said. He said that the Air Force had to react to the targets, false or otherwise.

“These are returns on the radars, they have to be shot down, as it is not known whether there is a combat unit there or not,” he said.

Ihnat said that among the 36 missiles fired by the Russian military were two Kh-59 missiles fired from Su-35 tactical aircraft in the Melitopol area.

“Such missiles actually have a nose with a camera – the operator can direct it to the target quite precisely. These two missiles were destroyed,” he added.

Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles were also launched from two Tu-95 strategic aircraft over the Caspian Sea. In addition, Kalibr missiles from the Black Sea were launched from a Russian warship.

Russia also fired 12 X-22 missiles. They have a target accuracy of about 600 meters(meaning they can be more than half-a-kilometers off target). They carry a one-ton high-explosive warhead and can cause significant destruction. It was this time of missile that caused mass casualties in January in Dnipro in a strike on an apartment building, and in Kremenchuk in June in a strike on a shopping mall.

During the Feb. 16 overnight attack, critical infrastructure facilities were hit, with impacts being recorded in Kremenchuk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad and Lviv oblasts.

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