Kyiv Security Forum experts analyze key events for past week
A house destroyed by Russian bombing in Izyum, Kharkiv Oblast (Photo:REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
During the past week, Russia stepped up airstrikes in the frontline and border areas of Ukraine, while new weapons for Ukraine became a “painful” topic in many discussions, say experts from the Kyiv Security Forum.
Russia intensifies airstrikes
The main military trend of the week is the further intensification of Russian air strikes both on the frontline and border areas, as well as deep into Ukrainian territory.
According to statistics from Ukrainian military’s General Staff, the intensity of airstrikes continues to grow, with 20 to 60 such attacks registered each day this week (which includes drone kamikaze strikes) — nearly a quarter more than the previous week.
The enemy received a new shipment of Shahed drones and is using them for strikes deep within Ukrainian territory, Ukrainian officials have said. On April 19, Russia launched 26 Shahed drones, 21 of which were destroyed. On the night of April 21, up to 12 tactical UAVs were launched, four of which were not successfully shot down, resulting in a large fire at an oil depot in Poltava Oblast.
On April 16, Russians also launched a massive missile attack using S-300s on the cities of Zaporizhzhya and Komyshuvakha in Zaporizhzhya Oblast, as well as Snihurivka in Mykolaiv Oblast. However, the number of cruise missile strikes was minimal.
The most dangerous tactic used by the enemy remains launching missiles and guided bombs from fighter jets. Such heavy bombs caused severe damage and casualties in Orikhiv and Huliaypole of Zaporizhzhya Oblast and Vovchansk of Kharkiv Oblast on April 18-19.
A similar bomb accidentally hit the Russian city of Belgorod on the evening of April 20, as acknowledged by the Russian command. As of last week, Ukrainian Air Force Command observed the use of up to 20 precision-guided bombs per day.
Air Force representatives and experts regularly note that the enemy’s use of air bombs is the greatest challenge for the air defense of Ukraine and, in general, for the Armed Forces. This is the optimal type of weaponry in terms of availability, degree of risk, and destructive power.
The Ukrainian air defense, with its current resources, cannot “stretch” between protecting important rear-based facilities and covering the frontline areas. The Air Force has repeatedly stressed that the only way to protect the sky is a combination of significant expansion of air defense (including the fleet of Ukrainian fighter jets) with regular air strikes far into the enemy’s territory.
Supply of new Western weapons amid shortage
The shortage of air defense systems and their ammunition remains a significant issue in discussions about the supply of new batches of Western weapons to Ukraine. On the eve of the most recent meeting of the Contact Group on Defense Issues of Ukraine in the Ramstein format, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov emphasized that Ukraine’s priority is the rapid construction of a multi-level air defense/anti-missile defense system.
All 13 MiG-29 fighter jets donated by Slovakia and the first Patriot air defense missile systems have finally been delivered to Ukraine. Additionally, sources have confirmed for the first time that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are already using the Turkish Rocketsan multiple launch rocket systems and its guided missiles (an analog of HIMARS), as well as the innovative Swedish RBS-70 air defense system.
However, the quantity of these new weapons remains small, which has led, among other things, to warnings by Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat about the politicization of the provision of MiG-29s and Patriots.
Discussions in Europe continue regarding the supply of shells for Ukrainian artillery forces. EU countries have not yet agreed on how to spend the one billion euros already allocated to purchase these shells.
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