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Putin Is Quite Angry: Russia Struck by Missiles and Drones from Ukraine

While the Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to unfold in the Donbas region and Southern Ukraine, the air war is starting to reach Russia itself.

Patriot Missile. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

While the Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to unfold in the Donbas region and Southern Ukraine, the air war is starting to reach Russia itself.

Ukrainian drone and missile strikes within Russian territory present an additional challenge to the largely ineffective Russian Aerospace Forces.

Aerospace Forces, Putin, and National Security 

The Russian Aerospace Forces are pressed on two fronts. They have to respond to attacks on Russia even as they support the ground war in Ukraine.

“The leadership of Russia’s Aerospace Forces (VKS) is highly likely under intense pressure to improve air defenses over western Russia. In recent months, the range of threats penetrating well inside Russia has increased,” British Military Intelligence assessed in a recent estimate on the war. “Pressure is likely to particularly fall on VKS Chief of Staff, Colonel-General Viktor Afzalov; VKS Commander-in-Chief General Sergei Surovikin remains absent, suspected to have been detained in relation to the June 2023 Wagner Group mutiny.”

The Russian Aerospace Forces have largely failed to make their mark on the battlefield. They have facilitated long-range strikes against Ukrainian urban centers and critical infrastructure, and have carried out some tactical combat sorties to counter the Ukrainian counteroffensive, but the Aerospace Forces have not influenced the fighting in a significant way. That is a big demerit for the larger and more advanced Russian air force, and a big victory for Ukrainian air defenses, which have been strengthened considerably by the United States and NATO.

Strikes deep inside Russia are strategically important because President Putin almost certainly invaded Ukraine on the assumption that it would have little direct effect on Russians,” British Military Intelligence added.

However, after 19 months of combat, heavy sanctions, strikes within Russian territory, mobilizations of reserves, and between 250,000 and 300,000 Russian soldiers dead, maimed, or captured, it is clear that Putin’s aim to shield ordinary Russians from the war has failed. The longer the war drags on, the more the Russian people will indeed feel its effects.

The Ukrainians on the Missile Offensive 

Ukraine has also started using ballistic missiles against targets in Russia. According to British Military Intelligence, Kyiv has used old S-200 ground-to-air ballistic missiles against ground targets of military value inside Russia.

In doing so, it looks like the Ukrainian military is taking a page out of its Russian adversary’s playbook. The Russian military has lobbed anti-aircraft and anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles against ground targets for months now due to a shortage of appropriate missiles. These makeshift ground attack missiles lack the accuracy needed to strike the intended target, regardless of whether it is stationary or on the move, and many innocent Ukrainians have been killed in their homes by errant Russian munitions.

Kyiv has likely made sure that any missile used for purposes other than its original intent has the necessary upgrade kits to be accurate. The last thing Ukrainian leadership wants, after all, is to alienate its Western partners with an errant missile striking Russian homes.

About the Author 

A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

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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.