Russia will need to sacrifice air defense at its own borders to help
cover gaps in Ukraine, UK intel says
Thibault Spirlet Nov 9, 2023, 9:12 AM PST
A video captures the moment an S-400 explodes in Crimea.
A video captures the moment an S-400 explodes in Crimea. Screengrab/Main
Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine
Russia could be forced to sacrifice air defenses at its borders, UK
Losses in Ukraine mean that key air defense weapons will likely need to
be redeployed, it said.
Russia's air defense systems have become a key target for Ukrainian
missiles and drones.
Russia may need to sacrifice air defenses protecting its borders to help
cover gaps in the front lines in Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence
said in an intelligence update on Thursday.
Last week, Russia lost three S-400 Triumf missile systems in the Luhansk
region, weakening its air defenses there, the MOD said.
To make up for those losses, Russia will "highly likely" be forced to
divert surface-to-air missile systems, or SAM, from "distant parts" of
Russia to the front lines in Ukraine, leaving its borders vulnerable,
per the UK MOD.
The British ministry added that Russia's struggle to keep its air
defenses in place is proof the war is overstretching its military.
"The reallocation of strategic air defense assets would further
demonstrate how the Ukraine conflict continues to overextend Russia's
military and strains its ability to retain baseline defenses across its
vast area," it said.
Since August, Russia has suffered several notable losses of its
highly-prized S-400 "Triumf" air-defense systems, with Ukraine targeting
the weapons with a combination of missiles and drones.
In September, Ukraine's security service and its navy destroyed an S-400
worth more than $500 million in a joint operation in occupied Crimea,
the BBC and Reuters reported at the time, citing Ukrainian intelligence
And in August, Ukraine struck a Russian S-400 air-defense system with a
Neptune missile near Olenivka, Crimea.
Russia's air defenses have proven so vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks
that military analysts from the Institute for the Study of War said that
they may have "systemic tactical failures."
Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence, made a
similar assessment in an interview with The Drive in September, saying
that Ukrainian attacks show "the obvious inability of Russian air
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