Last week, Ukrainian officials confirmed military intelligence data that shows how Russian forces deployed Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems on Zmiinyi Island.
Also known as Snake Island, Zmiinyi Island is a Ukrainian territory located in the Black Sea. The island was attacked on the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 by the Moskva cruiser, which was later sunk by Ukrainian Neptune missiles.
Russian forces soon established military positions on the island, but Ukrainian forces reported on April 27 that those positions had been hit by missiles. Then, on May 7, the Ukrainian military released video footage of a Bayraktar TB2 missile strike against a Serna landing craft close to Snake island.
In response, Russia deployed the Tor-M2 missile system on the island to provide short-range air defense.
“Clearly, the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense estimates that this is a strategic object that will be used by Russia to control, in fact, the entire northwestern part of the Black Sea,” Ukrainian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Vadym Skibitsky said last week.
And it is no coincidence that from the first days of the war, Russia captured the island and began to install the necessary equipment to monitor the air, surface and underwater situation near the island. And this, in fact, made it possible for Russia to gather more accurate intelligence data on the developments in this region.”
According to Skibitsky, the Russians consider the island particularly important in the wake of the sinking of the Moskva.
What is the Tor-M2?
The Tor-M2 is a modernized version of Russia’s Tor-M1 surface-to-air defense missile system. The short-range missile system was introduced in 2007 and has since been used in multiple conflicts.
The system is designed to take out UAVs, planes, helicopters, guided missiles, and all other airborne weapons or crafts.
Troops can mount the missile system on a tracked or wheeled chassis. It works best when striking low-altitude targets.
Watch the Tor-M2 In Action
Video footage of the Tor-M2 missile system in action was shared on Telegram channel Zvezdanews. and in several other platforms.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 17, 2022
The minute-long clip shows a Russian soldier flicking a switch on the control panel, before switching to a view of a rocket being fired high into the air. The missile eventually appears to hit its target, which cannot initially be seen. The target erupts into a ball of white smoke.
The next clip shows the missile system’s cameras focusing on the missile as it hits another moving target in the air, as well as the faces of Russian soldiers controlling the equipment.
Additional footage included at the end of the clip shows dramatic explosions in mid-air.
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 reports 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.