Russia May Be Trying to Trick Ukraine Into Moving Air Defenses: ISW

Russia may try to move Ukraine’s air defense systems away from the front line so its air force can play a bigger role, war analysts say.

The influential Institute for the Study of War on Wednesday highlighted increased Russian missile and drone strikes against Ukrainian energy facilities.

He speculated that Russia was doing this to encourage Ukraine to move its air defense systems away from the front lines.

Without the defenses in place, Russia could deploy its warplanes with less fear of being shot down.

“Russian forces could intensify their strikes to further pressure the Ukrainian command to deploy air defense systems away from the front in order to more safely intensify air operations in support of ground operations,” said the ISW.

Ukraine has largely held back the Russian Air Force, although it has a much smaller and older air force itself.

Using its air defense systems – both Soviet-era and modern supplies supplied by the West – Ukraine has made crucial parts of its airspace too dangerous for Russian planes to enter. .

Although Russia can still launch long-range attacks with its aircraft, the dynamic severely limits the overall damage it can cause.

Instead of risking its planes over the front lines, Russia focused its airstrikes on towns and villages across Ukraine, killing civilians and destroying residential buildings.

Air warfare experts told Business Insider that Ukraine’s ability to deny the Russian air force was a hugely impressive achievement – significant enough to prevent Russia from winning the war shortly after its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

However, Ukraine may not be able to successfully pursue this strategy as air defense supplies are running out.

House Republicans have blocked an additional $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, and soldiers there say they can feel the impact as they are forced to ration their ammunition and not not reach their targets.

If Ukraine does not have enough air defense, the Russian Air Force could quickly make its power felt, BI warned earlier this year.

Justin Bronk, an expert on Russia and air warfare at the UK’s Royal United Services Institute, said Ukraine’s actions meant the Russian air force “has, until now, been largely without relation to the conflict in terms of the battlefield.

But he warned that could change.

“Ukraine’s ability to maintain air defense coverage over the front lines and the immediate area behind them: if this is not maintained, Ukraine could lose the war quite quickly.”

The ISW warned in February that Russia appeared to be temporarily establishing air superiority over the town of Avdiivka, likely since the start of its full-scale invasion. (The city soon fell.)

The ISW warned that it would be “devastating” if Russia continued to act like this.

Ukrainian defenses near the front lines in the east managed to shoot down numerous Russian aircraft, recording an impressive casualty streak in February.

Ukraine appears to have at least one American-made Patriot battery in this area, and at least one protecting the capital, kyiv.

But Ukraine says those missiles are also running out and has asked its allies for more systems.


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