It has been a long journey for Ukrainians since the beginning of the war this February. They started off with pure grits, building up their defense weaponry with makeshift vehicles and ammunition, and now they’re supported by the world’s strongest military powers.
Earlier this week, Ukraine attacked two military bases in Russia and hit an oil depot, resulting in another slew of Russian missile attacks toward Ukrainian civilian cities. Though it is being evaluated whether Russia’s violating any Geneva guidelines on war crimes, Ukraine continues to not underestimate Russian forces even after successfully reclaiming Kherson.
In Ukraine’s recent attacks, they showed Moscow that they now have the capacity to fire 250 to 300 miles into Russia. Though this could be a way to ease their way into hastily ending the war, retired Australian Army General Mick Ryan says this doesn’t mean “at all that Ukraine is going to attack Moscow.” Nevertheless, it is an undeniably smart move for Ukraine to hold off aggressive firing toward Russia.
One reason is that this can be a strategic arm for Ukraine to continuously play with them from a fear standpoint.
“Despite the widespread availability of high-quality, commercial satellite images, targeting at this distance remains a difficult undertaking. The Ukrainian targeteers who conceived and planned this strike may even have had third party assistance in planning the attack, but this is not a certainty. A combination of open-source material, a knowledge of Russian air defence network gaps and on the ground’ assistance’ may have sufficed to meet their needs to allow the Ukrainian weapons to penetrate Russian airspace, avoid air defences and get to their targets,” Ryan wrote.
At the same time, Ukraine is finding more ways to protect civilian areas, and direct missile confrontation with Russia is not the key. However, Ukraine could still consider a missile attack as an option if they’re really pushed too far.
“…raids on the Russian capital would be fair play,” according to Forbes.
Ukraine is well equipped with sophisticated high-tech missiles capable of causing massive damage to Russia. The Ukrainian military currently operates more than 150 advanced weapon systems, including air-to-ground and surface-to-air missiles, as well as the ones donated by the West. This includes the S-300V4, an advanced Russian air defense system that has been in service since 2007, as well as new orders for cruise missiles and other precision weapons. These weapons have far greater range than the short-range missiles used by Russia in its current conflict with Ukraine, and in combination with high-tech electronic warfare capabilities, they can pose a serious threat to targets inside Russia.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces also possess several different types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which are capable of carrying out reconnaissance missions deep into Russian territory. The latest Ukrainian UAVs can carry up to 200 kilograms of payload, such as bombs or nuclear warheads, if necessary. This could potentially allow for precision strikes on key Russian infrastructure such as communication hubs, oil facilities or military bases located further away from Ukraine’s borders.
In addition to their UAVs, Ukraine is said to possess a sophisticated network of spy satellites orbiting over Russian airspace which are capable of providing detailed imagery and intelligence gathering capability. By combining this intelligence with their UAV technology, Ukraine could potentially launch precision strikes on strategic targets inside Russia while limiting civilian casualties and avoiding collateral damage at the same time.
To add to these high-tech military assets, Ukraine also maintains an extensive arsenal of anti-tank missiles, such as the Fagot or Konkurs missiles explicitly designed for engaging armored vehicles from long ranges. In addition to their sophisticated countermeasures capability, these anti-tank missiles are capable of penetrating walls up to two meters thick from over six kilometers away. Furthermore, Ukraine has a number of portable surface-to-air missiles, such as the Osa or Strela 10M2 systems, capable of intercepting low-flying targets such as helicopters or drones from a distance of three kilometers.
Ukraine’s advanced weapons systems provide them with formidable capabilities when it comes to striking deep within Russia’s borders should conflict arise between the two countries again in future years. With its impressive arsenal of long-range precision missiles combined with powerful defensive measures available, Ukraine certainly has what it takes to do massive damage against any potential adversaries looking for a fight.
“This long-range strike by the Ukrainians is unlikely to be the last time they attempt such an attack over long distances against Russian strategic forces. They will have observed Russian air defence reactions to the penetration of the drones into Russian airspace, the reaction at the bases, and the subsequent Russian media and propaganda responses. They will hone their targeting processes, their intelligence collection and ensure they either develop or procure the necessary weapons for such missions,” Ryan added.
The question now boils down to how long can Ukraine wait to deploy a full-on offensive toward Russia?
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