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9 Jan, 2024 10:15

Russia using ‘glide bombs’ to devastate Ukrainian bunkers – NYT

One of Kiev’s troops compared Moscow’s strikes to “the gates of hell”
Russia using ‘glide bombs’ to devastate Ukrainian bunkers – NYT

The Russian military is increasingly using ‘glide bombs’ to destroy strong Ukrainian fortifications, some of which date back to 2014 when hostilities first erupted in Donbass, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing Kiev’s troops.

Ukrainian frontline soldiers told the newspaper that while they had become accustomed to constant artillery attacks, since the spring they had suffered “the additional devastating power” of glide bombs dropped by Russian warplanes. The weapons, which contain up to half a ton of explosives, are capable of obliterating Ukrainian underground bunkers, they added.

While it is unclear which specific type of bomb was being referring to, in recent weeks the Russian Defense Ministry has reported the deployment of FAB-500 bombs equipped with a gliding and correction module against Ukrainian defenses. Russian military experts and Western media estimate the range of the bombs at about 40km, although the figure may vary.

One Ukrainian soldier compared the glide-bomb strikes to “hell’s gates.” “They would send them two by two by two, eight in an hour… It sounds like a jet coming down on you,” he told the NYT.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph in May, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yury Ignat admitted that glide bombs posed a “very serious threat.” He described the weapon as a cheaper option compared to various types of rockets. “The S-300s [missiles] we can sometimes intercept, but these bombs are a problem,” he said.

Ukrainian service members told the NYT that it “has never been so dangerous” to be near the front line. They noted that Moscow’s forces are now also making extensive use of first-person view (FPV) drones to hunt down targets or coordinate artillery strikes. This has significantly hampered the maneuverability of Ukrainian troops, who now have to mainly move on foot or hide in shelters, the newspaper said.

Kiev’s soldiers claimed they were the first to start using the tactic, but that Russia quickly followed suit. “My impression is Russia is interested in drones at the state level,” one service member told the outlet. He complained that Ukraine, in contrast, has to rely on donor programs, and urged the government in Kiev to ramp up its efforts in this area.