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Russia Is Blasting Ukraine with Cruise Missiles and Kamikaze Drones

Tu-160 Bomber. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Is Russia Getting Desperate in Ukraine? Iranian drones and cruise missiles are some of the weapon systems the Russian military used in its salvo of terror in the past few days against Ukrainian cities. The war continues for the 231st day, and the Russian military is desperately pushing for some good news.

Iranian Drones and Russian Strike Capabilities

Yesterday, the Russian military unleashed another salvo of missile strikes across Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russian forces launched approximately 30 Kh-101 and Kh-55 cruise missiles from Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers against Ukrainian critical infrastructure across Ukraine. The Ukrainians claimed to have destroyed 21 cruise missiles.

But in addition to the cruise missiles, the Russian military launched several unmanned aerial vehicles, including types acquired recently from Iran. One of the most widely used was the Shahed-136, a one-way attack kamikaze drone.

According to the Ukrainian military, the Russian forces launched close to 90 Shahed-136 loitering munitions, with Ukrainian air defenses shooting down around 50 of the drones. The Shahed-136 is relatively slow (as most unmanned aerial systems are), thus making it a fairly easy target for conventional air defense weapon systems and even small arms fire. (Generally, there are two ways to deal with a drone: shoot it down or use electronic warfare means to either crash it or force it to land.)

But it seems that the Russian forces tried to overwhelm the Ukrainian air defenses by using dozens of drones at the same time, thus allowing some to slip through the Ukrainian defenses.

The Shahed-136 might have a very long operational range (allegedly more than 1,500 miles), but it can only carry a very small explosive payload, making the drone largely ineffective for operational or strategic strikes.

“With Russian tactical combat jets still achieving limited effect over Ukrainian territory, the lack of a reliable, sustainable, and accurate operational-level strike capability is likely one of Russia’s most significant capability gaps in Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its daily estimate of the war in Ukraine.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

The Russian forces continue to suffer a steady stream of casualties in Ukraine while the first units with mobilized reservists are showing up to the front.

T-84 Ukraine

A T-84 tank from Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 63,380 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 268 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 235 attack and transport helicopters, 2,505 tanks, 1,507 artillery pieces, 5,181 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 355 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,927 vehicles and fuel tanks, 182 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,129 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 136 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 315 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive 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.



  1. Mario

    October 12, 2022 at 11:19 am

    Russia must be demolished to the ground. Bring me a fair Russian and I will spare them, God said. But of course this is not going to happen: there is no good Russian. The world would be a better place without them: dead dogs don’t bite. the invaders are at the end of their rope, it just remains to be seen how long they can last

  2. Tamerlane

    October 12, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    Ukrainians like Mario here in the comments will cause the complete annihilation of that brave country. Carthago delenda est was a horrible policy even in the 2nd-3rd century B.C. for Rome, and it is asinine and suicidal for 21st century world geopolitics, particularly where the country he openly seeks to destroy is the world’s preeminent nuclear super power. Russia grasps and comprehends what warmongers like Mario seek, and they will do whatever they have to to avoid this fate of complete annihilation. We Americans who control Ukraine should exercise our restraint in preventing our proxies from doing damage to the United States, as, the dog shouldn’t bite the master. Eventually we will have to leave them to the punishment of their home’s master whose ire they raised by seeking to transfer yards to our more benevolent client-state alliance. Unfortunately, we aren’t going to go all out for them, and they should know that.

    We aren’t going to end the world over opposing an existential interest of Russia’s which is not even in our top 10 regional interests.

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