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Putin Is Desperate: Russia Launches Massive Missile Strike on Ukraine

On Saturday, after weeks of relatively no missile strikes, the Russian military launched a major wave of cruise missiles against Ukrainian urban centers. 

T-80 Tank Destroyed in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

After several weeks of no missile strikes, the Russian military unleashed a barrage of cruise missiles against Ukrainian cities, killing and wounding dozens of people. 

Meanwhile, on day 429 of the conflict, the Russian military is still trying to capture the town of Bakhmut in the Donbas. 

On the other end, the large-scale Ukrainian counteroffensive is getting closer. For several months, the Ukrainian military has been training forces and stockpiling weapon systems and munitions to fuel its upcoming counteroffensive. 

Russian Missile Strikes 

After weeks of relatively no missile strikes on Saturday, the Russian military launched a significant wave of cruise missiles against Ukrainian urban centers. 

According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the Russian military used Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers in the latest missile attack to launch 23 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles.

The Russian aircraft deployed the munitions over the Caspian Sea, well out of range of Ukrainian air defenses

The cruise missiles hit civilian targets in at least four large urban centers across Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian air defenses intercepted most of the incoming munitions, and those that got through killed at least 25 civilians. 

On its end, Moscow claimed it launched a precision strike against Ukrainian military reserve deployment points, adding that the strike mission was successful. 

“The attacks suggest a departure in Russia’s use of long-range strikes. The wave involved fewer missiles than those over the winter and was unlikely to have been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

The Ukrainian military is moving a lot of forces and weapon systems around the country in preparation for its upcoming large-scale counteroffensive. The Russian military could have been targeting those movements. 

“There is a realistic possibility that Russia was attempting to intercept Ukrainian reserve units and military supplies recently provided to Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence assessed. 

However, the Russian military is notoriously bad at targeting. Indeed, Moscow lacks the capability to target and hit moving targets reliably and sustainably. That was one of the reasons why the Russian forces were unable to take out the moving Ukrainian air defenses. 

“Russia operates an inefficient targeting process and prioritises perceived military necessity over preventing collateral damage, including civilian deaths,” the British Military Intelligence added. 

Starting in October, the Russian military has launched more than 1,300 ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukraine to take out the country’s power grid. 

Russian Casualties in Ukraine

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 190040 Russian troops.

Destroyed equipment includes: 308 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 294 attack and transport helicopters, 3,697 tanks, 2,908 artillery pieces, 7,184 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 543 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,836 vehicles and fuel tanks, 294 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,471 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 355 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 932 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

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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.