What is the Iskander-M Missile System That Ukrainians Destroyed? – Amidst reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is turning to China for possible military assistance, Ukrainian fighters have reportedly destroyed a Russian Iskander-M missile system that was stationed in the Chernihiv region and used to shell residential buildings.
Daria Kaleniuk of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, a Ukrainian organization that tackles political corruption, wrote on March 10 that the Ukrainian Armed Forces took out the ballistic missile system “per operational command ‘North.’”
What is the Iskander-M?
The Iskander-M is a Russian short-range hypersonic ballistic missile system.
It was developed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and was officially adopted by the Russian military in 2006. It is a mobile unit that is equipped with two 9M723 missiles. Each missile may be targeted independently of the other, and both are equipped with their own warheads. The warheads can also vary, with the military having a choice between cluster munitions – which Russian forces have used in Ukraine, according to humanitarian groups – and fuel-air explosive enhanced-blast warheads.
Each missile can also be maneuvered during flight using an optical guidance system, meaning that they are effective at hitting both static and moving targets. It also takes just a matter of minutes to fire the second missile after launching the first, and each missile travels up to 2,600 m/s.
Russian Missile Systems Dispersed and Repositioned Around Kyiv
A day after reports suggested the Ukrainians had successfully taken out a Russian Iskander-M missile system, satellite images showed how a 40-mile-long convoy of Russian armored vehicles, tanks, and heavy artillery was beginning to disperse around Kyiv.
Satellite photographs from Maxar Technologies showed how heavy artillery was being dispersed throughout the capital city and surrounding towns and villages, with some missile systems located in the woods some 15 miles outside of Kyiv. Maxar reported that howitzer artillery pieces were moved into the firing position.
According to the UK Ministry of Defense, Russian forces have begun relying more on ground-based missile systems than its jet fighters after the Ukrainian Air Force proved more capable of defending themselves than previously thought.
“There has been a notable decrease in overall Russian air activity over Ukraine in recent days, likely due to the unexpected effectiveness of the Ukrainian Air Defence Forces,” an update from the British Defence Ministry explained.
“The large Russian column northwest of Kyiv has made little progress in over a week and is suffering continued losses at the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the update continued.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.