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Putin’s Problem: Is Russia Running Out of Accurate Weapons?

Russian artillery firing. Image credit: Creative Commons.

Russia – Ukraine War Update: On day 129 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is still looking for a breakthrough in the Donbas. The question is will they get it?

Fighting in the Donbas and Russian (Im)Precision Strikes 

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense touched on the fighting in the Donbas but mainly focused on the misuse of precision-guided munition by the Russian military.

“Russian forces continue to achieve minor advances around Lysychansk, with air and artillery strikes continuing in the district. Ukrainian forces probably continue to block Russian forces in the south-eastern outskirts of Lysychansk,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Last week, the Russian military launched two cruise missiles against a Ukrainian shopping mall that was packed with hundreds of people in the middle of the day. At least ten people were killed and many more injured by the attack.

“Russia continues to employ air-launched anti-ship missiles in a secondary land-attack role, likely because of dwindling stockpiles of more accurate modern weapons,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

The Russians claimed that they weren’t targeting the mall, and the weapon system they used seems to support that. However, choosing the wrong weapon system for a precision strike comes with the admission that collateral damage and civilian casualties are acceptable. And in that, the Russians are guilty.

“Analysis of CCTV footage shows the missile that impacted the Kremenchuk shopping centre on 27 June 2022 was highly likely a Kh-32. This is an upgraded version of the Soviet era Kh-22 KITCHEN. Although the Kh-32 has several performance improvements over the Kh-22, it is still not optimised to accurately strike ground targets, especially in an urban environment. This greatly increases the likelihood of collateral damage when targeting built up areas,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

“Further strikes on 30 June 2022 in Odesa Oblast likely involved Kh-22 KITCHEN missiles. These weapons are even less accurate and unsuitable for precision strikes and have almost certainly repeatedly caused civilian casualties in recent weeks,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Russia Has a Casualties Problem

The Russian military continues to suffer casualties in Ukraine. The Kremlin continues to rely on mercenaries and separatist fighters to make up for the losses it has been suffering in the war.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 35,870 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 217 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 186 attack and transport helicopters, 1,582 tanks, 800 artillery pieces, 3,737 armored personnel carriers, 246 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,614 vehicles and fuel tanks, 105 anti-aircraft batteries, 653 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 61 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 144 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.