Military analyst says Ukraine lacks powerful air defenses to fend off Russian air strikes

25 January 2022, 05:39 PM

Ukraine lacks the kind of powerful air defenses needed to disrupt the Russian air strikes that would occur should the Kremlin launch a fresh invasion of Ukraine, Taras Chmut, board chairman of the Ukrainian Military Center think-tank, told Radio NV on Jan. 24.

“Ukraine has an air defense that is more nominal, than a threat to Russia,” he told the radio station.

“If we are talking about missile defense, we don’t have it. We have no means to intercept Iskander ballistic missiles or the like… Regarding the possibility of procuring air defense systems from Western partners: at this stage, (we would like) at least to get some commercial quantities of the (U.S.-made) Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.”

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“We can hardly talk about something more powerful, since it is expensive, complicated, and these are quite risky decisions for Western partners,” Chmut said.

He said that the Russian army has quite enough missiles to break through even a simple or modern air defense system, saying that without multiple layers of defense, paired with long-range radar detection aircraft, and an underlying system, Ukraine’s air defenses were negligible.

“We will not have such a complex even in 10 years, even if we wanted one,” Chmut said.

Earlier, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby at a briefing on Jan. 10 said representatives of the United States during a visit to Ukraine had discussed the country’s need for air defense systems.

On Jan. 7, the NBC News TV channel reported that the United States is working with other NATO alliance members to arrange for the delivery of Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles requested by the government in Kyiv. Ukrainian officials believe the Stinger surface-to-air missiles would help its military defend the country against low-flying Russian helicopters and drones.

In late 2021, the U.S. analysts stated that Russia could launch airstrikes on Ukrainian military and infrastructure facilities.

Russia has recently been moving large quantities of long-range artillery, including Iskander ballistic missile systems, close to Russian-Ukrainian border. Iskander missiles are capable of delivering kinetic, chemical, and nuclear warheads.

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