Kiev was the target of 17 of the 21 air strikes on Ukraine in May. In contrast, there were two out of seven attacks in April, according to the report BBC.
The Russian attacks on Kiev have two goals: to empty Ukraine of its air defenses and to deplete the population. This explains Tom Rosth, Director of the Intelligence Department at the Norwegian Defense Academy.
New attacks in Kiev: – Here he watches the corpse of his grandson
The latter is part of Russian tactics to influence the population’s willingness to fight, and thus influence Ukraine’s military options.
– The Russians launched massive missile attacks on the capital. Not feeling safe at all, constantly feeling insecure. It’s psychologically difficult for people, Rosth says.
Winter bombing failed
Last winter the Russians tried to destroy the electric current in order to freeze the population. President Volodymyr Zelensky described the attack on the power grid as a crime against humanity.
– They didn’t succeed. Roseth says the Russians have managed to wear down, but not break support among Ukrainians for defending their country.
Have these burnout tactics worked in the past?
– Yes, with “shock and awe” tactics, an attack can look very convincing. But the war in Ukraine is existential for the survival of Ukrainians. Thus, this tactic does not have any significant effect as the Russians had hoped, the headmaster explains.
Dropout and rocket
The leak earlier this year, which exposed classified documents, described how Ukraine was running out of anti-aircraft missiles.
Two of the leaked documents said that Ukraine’s ability to provide medium-range front-line air defense systems would be completely reduced by May 23.
– How is it now?
– They own themselves. It is reported that the Ukrainians shot down all the missiles heading towards Kiev last night, but there is no complete coverage in Ukraine. There is concern, Roseth says, if they get enough anti-aircraft missiles and anti-aircraft platforms to keep going.
A Russian missile attack hit a residential area in Dnipro. The attack killed a two-year-old boy and injured 22 people.
– For the West, it is a dilemma, how much one should unload their stocks in order to send ammunition to Ukraine. Ammunition production is advancing in full force, but production capacity must be increased. It is important for many types of missiles and artillery ammunition. Production takes time, Rosth explains.
He can be forced to make difficult choices
If the Russians can significantly reduce Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defenses, Ukraine must prioritize its cities or forces in a counterattack.
– If they had limited air defense, they could not use it without increasingly risking the troops along the front or the civilian population in the cities. It puts Ukrainians in an impossible situation, says Rosth.
Head straight to the car
Attacks are expected to continue, but the Russians also have limited missiles.
– However, it seems that they are receiving very large shipments of Iranian drones over the Caspian Sea, he says and continues:
Drones are part of the mix, to disable it and make it difficult for Ukraine’s air defense. It’s expensive to shoot them down unless you use, say, German Gepards that shoot projectiles into the air.
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