Ukraine running out of anti-aircraft missiles – WaPo
Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defenses have been strained by the increase in cruise missile and kamikaze-drone attacks by Russia, according to a Washington Post report published Friday. The country is now reportedly at risk of running out of surface-to-air missiles completely.
Older anti-aircraft systems, inherited by the county after the collapse of the Soviet Union, remain the backbone of its aerial defenses. The decades-old systems are very effective against the incoming Russian projectiles, Vladimir Klimin, deputy commander of a battalion working with S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in the Kiev region, told the newspaper.
While he claimed that his unit had never missed a target during the conflict, he admitted that Ukraine simply does not have enough anti-aircraft systems to cover the entirety of its vast territory.
“There are some Russians who are not stupid and know how to think,” Klimin stated. “And so they’re trying to get around our air defense systems by using the landscape or intelligence about where we’re located. They’re trying to beat us, too. But if the system sees the target and locks in on it, then it will shoot it down.”
Now, however, Kiev is at risk of running out of munitions even for the systems it has in its inventory. Denis Smazhny, responsible for training Ukraine’s antiaircraft missile forces, and currently abroad learning how to operate the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), warned of the shortfall.
“We need to replace our old systems because they will simply not be able to cope with these threats soon,” Smazhny told the newspaper. “And we are running out of missiles.”
Moscow has ramped up its aerial bombing campaign against Ukraine, targeting its critical infrastructure with cruise missiles and drones. The strikes came in the aftermath of the Crimean Bridge bombing, squarely blamed by Russia on Ukraine and branded a “terrorist act.”
While top Ukrainian officials initially cheered the blast, that heavily damaged the road traffic part of the transport artery, Kiev has ultimately denied any involvement.
The ramp-up in aerial bombings garnered widespread condemnation in the West, with several countries promising to deliver the sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses long-sought by Kiev. The US has pledged to send in short- to medium-range NASAMS, while the UK promised to supply Ukraine with dozens of Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). Germany green-lighted delivery of its cutting-edge IRIS-T systems, with the first unit having already arrived in the country last week and three more expected to be delivered next year.