Russian air strikes, which are meant to show strength, reveal another weakness

On Monday, Russia fired 84 missiles, many of them at Ukrainian civilian infrastructure targets, causing power outages in many cities. On Tuesday, Russia launched another 28 cruise missiles. On Thursday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that Russia had bombed more than 40 settlements since the previous day. In all, more than thirty people were killed.

But no matter how many times Russia has launched fires in Ukraine, Russia’s pro-war nationalists want more, even though targeting civilian infrastructure is potentially a war crime.

“It has to be done continuously, not just once but for two to five weeks to completely disable all its infrastructure, all thermal power plants, all heating and power plants, all power plants, all traction substations, all power lines, all railway hubs said Bogdan Bezpalko, a member of the Kremlin Council on Interracial Relations.

“After that Ukraine will plunge into cold and darkness,” Bezpalko said on state television. “They will not be able to bring ammunition and fuel and then the Ukrainian army will turn into a crowd of men armed with pieces of iron.”

But the hawks, who openly demand in TV broadcasts and on Telegram why Russia is not hitting more high-value targets, won’t like the answer: The Russian military appears to lack sufficient precision missiles to continue air strikes at a pace on Monday, according to the British Guardian newspaper. Western military analysts.

“It lacks precision-guided missiles,” Konrad Muzica, founder of Poland-based Gdansk, said, giving his assessment of Russia’s sporadic air attacks. “That’s the only explanation I have.”

Even as NATO allies said Thursday they would speed up sending additional air defenses to Ukraine, experts said the reason Russia had not yet shut down electricity and water service across the country was simple: It couldn’t.

Since May, Russia’s use of precision-guided missiles (PGMs) has fallen sharply, with analysts suggesting that Russian stocks of these missiles may be low.

Tuesday’s attacks primarily used air-launched cruise missiles, which are slower than guided Iskander missiles and easier for Ukraine to shoot down, according to Muzica. In March, the Pentagon mentioned The failure rate of Russian air-launched cruise missiles ranges from 20 to 60 percent.

“If Russia had an unlimited supply of precision-guided munitions, I think they would still hit civilian targets, because that’s the Russian way of war,” Muzica said. He said analysts had no confirmed information on Russian missile stocks or production levels, and the judgments were based on reduced use of precision-guided munitions and Moscow’s greater reliance on less accurate missiles.

At least one person was killed in Zaporizhia in a new round of Russian missile attacks across Ukraine on October 11, according to the state emergency service. (Video: The Washington Post)

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But the evidence lies in Russia’s failure to destroy the kinds of targets Ukraine can hit with US-supplied HIMARS artillery.

“If we take a look at what HIMARS has done to Russia’s supply routes, primarily their ability to withstand the war, they have done massive damage to Russia’s position in this war,” Muzica said. “So, technically, you know, if the Russians had access to a large stockpile of PGMS, they would probably do similar damage to the Ukrainian armed forces, but they didn’t.”

“In fact, they failed,” he continued. They even failed to intercept the main Ukrainian supply routes. They failed to destroy bridges, railways, railway junctions, etc. “

Russian President Vladimir Putin is dealing with so many military problems that some Western analysts are already predicting that the Russian war will fail. Others say it is still too early to write off Russia, especially with hundreds of thousands of reinforcements likely heading to the battlefield in the coming weeks.

From day one, Russia suffered appalling levels of casualties on the battlefield, destroying military morale. It suffered frequent defeats, including the failure to capture Kyiv, the retreat from Snake Island, the defeat at Kharkiv and the loss of Liman, a strategic transit center.

Ukrainian forces also continue to slowly regain territory in the Kherson region, in their ongoing southern offensive.

Russia’s military mobilization also remains in disarray, with angry recruits posting videos online almost daily, complaining about insufficient training and poor equipment. On Tuesday, Moscow police raided hostels and cafes to arrest men and hand them over to mobilization points, and military recruitment continues in Russian prisons, according to an independent Russian media website.

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Lawrence Friedman, professor of war studies at King’s College London, wrote in a newsletter that Russia’s escalation of missile attacks on civilian targets on Monday yielded no apparent military gains.

“Russia often lacks the missiles needed to launch attacks of this type, its stocks are running out and the Ukrainians claim a high success rate in intercepting many of those already in use,” Friedman wrote. “So this is not a new strategy to win the war but a sociopathic tantrum.”

Friedman wrote that “Putin’s need to appease his critics also explains why he criticizes Ukrainian cities.” The militants have been calling for attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure for some time and now they have what they want. But they will inevitably be disappointed with the results.”

“These attacks can be repeated, because it is part of the mentality of Putin and his generals that enemies can be forced to surrender by these means,” he added. “But stocks of the Kalibr and Iskander are running out.”

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Amid Russia’s military setbacks, the beatings on Ukraine’s power grid in recent days are designed to shock and terrorize civilians, starve them for energy in winter, and break their will to resist, according to Maria Shagina, an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank.

Kyiv residents cleared the remains of their homes and warehouses after a Russian missile attack on October 10 (Video: Reuters)

Shagina said one of the clear goals of the Russian strikes on six power substations in Lviv, western Ukraine, was to prevent Ukraine from exporting electricity to Europe. The strikes also crippled the city’s energy supply.

“We are now witnessing the escalation and armament of critical infrastructure,” she said, adding that it was no coincidence that Russia destroyed Ukraine’s ability to export electricity to Europe at the same time that Moscow weaponized natural gas, cutting supplies to put pressure. Europe Union.

“There is some intensification of the war, in that Russia does not even hide the fact that it attacked civilian infrastructure and critical infrastructure,” Shagina added. “They are trying to escalate the war as much as they can.”

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Muzica said that Russia, ignoring international agreements, has consistently targeted residential buildings and civilian infrastructure in two wars in Chechnya, Syria and Ukraine.

“Certainly they are focusing on the power grid as a way to make the lives of civilians miserable,” he said. For the Russians, the bombing of civilian areas, residential areas and anything that can affect the lives of civilians is a military objective, because for Russia the war is all-out. ”

“What the Russians are basically trying to do is to tire the Ukrainians, reduce morale, reduce the desire to fight, and from their point of view, we hope to increase pressure on the Ukrainian government to enter into negotiations with Russia,” he added.

Ukraine has asked Western allies to acquire the latest air defense systems to protect civilians and critical infrastructure. But even with NATO pledging more help, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said it would take time to get these systems to Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, the Western response is rather limited,” Shagina said, adding that Russia is trying to “use the full range of measures it can deploy against the West and Ukraine.”

But no matter how severe the attacks are, Russia’s hawks say it’s still not enough.

Russian journalist Andrei Medvedev, a member of the Moscow City Council who runs the popular pro-war ultra-nationalist Telegram channel, urged patience, saying that the decision to “bomb medieval Ukraine” had not yet been made.

Another hawk, Alexander Kots, a Komsomolskaya Pravda war correspondent, who has a pro-war Telegram channel, said he hoped the strikes signaled a new type of war that would bomb Ukraine “until it loses its ability to function.”

Natalia Abakumova contributed to this report.

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