In recent air strikes on Ukraine, Russia has primarily deployed one-way attack drones, diverging from its earlier tactic of also using accompanying cruise missiles.
Russia’s halt in missile launches indicates a strategic stockpiling, potentially foreshadowing a planned campaign to target and debilitate Ukraine’s energy facilities and other critical infrastructure, according to an intelligence update published by the British Defense Ministry.
The ministry tweeted:
- Between the 18-19 November 2023 Russia launched around 50 Iranian-designed Shahed one way-attack uncrewed aerial vehicles, primarily towards Kyiv. These were launched in waves on two axes – from the Kursk to the east, and from Krasnodar to the south-east.
- One of Russia’s objectives was likely to degrade Ukraine’s air defences, to shape the battlespace ahead of any concerted winter campaign of strikes against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
- Russia has now refrained from launching its premier air launched cruise missiles from its heavy bomber fleet for nearly two months, likely allowing it to build up a substantial stock of these weapons. Russia is highly likely to use these missiles if it repeats last year’s effort to destroy Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure.