Russia fired cruise missile with dummy nuclear warhead, indicating shortage of weapons

18 November 2022, 01:08 PM
Consequences of Russia's attack on the Zaporizhzhia Oblast (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

Consequences of Russia's attack on the Zaporizhzhia Oblast (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

Russia is launching cruise missiles with dummy nuclear warheads at Ukraine – evidence that the enemy’s stockpile of cruise missiles is running so low that it is dipping into its strategic reserves, Ukrainian military analysts Defense Express wrote on Nov. 17.

Kyiv’s air defenses shot down at least four Shahed-type kamikaze drones and at least two cruise missiles on Nov. 18.

Defense Express, citing its own sources, reported that one of these two enemy missiles was of the Kh-55 type, which had no warhead at all. Instead of a warhead, a block was “screwed” into this missile, which acted as an imitator of a nuclear warhead.

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“Simply put, for this strike, the orcs (Russians) took at least one Kh-55 from their ‘nuclear arsenal’, ‘unscrewed’ the nuclear warhead from this missile and replaced it with an empty ‘block’, and then fired it at Ukraine,” the experts said.

Such actions by the Russians may have several explanations, Defense Express said:

  • The Russian military involved in the preparation and execution of the next attack simply took the orders “from above” to ensure the massive use of cruise missiles on Nov. 17. That’s why the X-55 with a dummy nuclear warhead was used. But even this option indicates that the stockpile of cruise missiles in the Russian Federation is being depleted to a level critical for the Kremlin, since they have started using missiles from the “nuclear arsenal.”
  • Another possible explanation is that the Russians deliberately used the Kh-55 with a dummy nuclear warhead to add to the mass attack in order to overwhelm Ukraine air defenses.

“Indeed, this really fits the Rashists’ (Russian fascists) style – to ‘use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.’ But even this option shows even more vividly that the Russian missile stockpile is running out,” the experts sad.

  • The Russian invaders were forced to use the Kh-55 for the strike, because the stocks of the newer winged Kh-101, specifically for the conventional warhead (the option for delivering nuclear weapons has the designation Kh-102) are running out.

Defense Express, citing its own sources, reported that during the attack on Nov. 15, a Russian Kh-101 that was manufactured in the third quarter of 2022 was shot down. Given that usually older missiles are fired before newer ones, this may also indicate Russian stocks of missiles are extremely low.

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