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Western air defence systems helpless against Russian missiles: evidence

The latest massive missile strike on targets in Ukraine hit the Artem plant in Kyiv, with a footage of six consecutive strikes on the facility surfacing online.

The cameraman expresses surprise at the alleged six Russian missile hits on the plant.

This is the fourth! It’s the f***ing fifth. Straight into the Artem plant! I hear the sixth one! F***ing hell!

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Kyiv was securely protected by Western air defence systems. However, footage and media reports prove that Russian cruise and ballistic missiles still pose a threat to Ukrainian facilities.

German journalist Julian Röpcke said that the air defence systems transferred by Western countries to protect Kyiv were unable to cope with a massive missile strike, according to Bild.

Our political leaders have miscalculated horribly. It was not a single Russian missile that penetrated the ‘protective umbrella’ over the capital, consisting of Patriot, IRIS-T and other systems, but at least 10. Either Kyiv has no more missiles, or the air defence systems themselves have become targets. Either way, it’s a disaster.

Dangerous missile strikes

A new series of missile strikes on military facilities in the Ukrainian capital has left a number of questions. The bulk of the arrivals, at least six, hit a complex of buildings at the Artem plant. Other strikes hit substations in the Shevchenkivskyi and Holosiivskyi districts.

Given that allied-supplied NASAMS and Patriot air defence systems missed most of the cruise and ballistic missiles, and taking into account the number of carrier aircraft involved, military experts suggest that Ukrainian air defences managed to intercept “about 10 per cent of the missiles or even less.”

The landing of an anti-aircraft missile at Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital, widely reported in media, is an illustrative case of the dubious performance of the Ukrainian air defence system. Ukraine claimed an allegedly deliberate Russian missile strike on civilian targets. However, the Russian Defence Ministry denied the accusation, calling it a provocation aimed at “ensuring further funding” for Kyiv and “the continuation of the war to the last Ukrainian.”

Ukrainian authorities reported that the initial death toll from the strike on the hospital had not increased and totalled 2 people. 32 were injured, including 8 children. The director general of Okhmatdyt stated:

I’m sorry that it happened that people were killed, that children were injured, that the whole Ukrainian community is now worried about the people who were left without help.

However, despite using about 30 Kh-101 missiles to strike targets in Ukraine, this is not the largest-scale missile strike by Russia. Last year, the Russians hit Ukraine’s energy sector with 80 cruise and ballistic missiles, according to Ukrainian media.

Any operation of such a scale is determined first and foremost by its expediency. Previously, such strikes required a large number of missiles due to the density of Kyiv’s air defences. However, most of the S-300 systems were presumably transported to the frontlines amid intensified offensive efforts by Russian forces.

At the beginning of the war, Ukraine did have one of the most powerful air defence systems in Europe and worldwide. However, Kyiv’s anti-aircraft defences had weakened. This allowed Russia to take advantage of the situation and strike military installations of major significance during the war.

Today, despite the deployment of Western Patriot, NASAMS, and SAMP-T, Ukraine appears to lack sufficient air defences to guarantee the protection of military facilities in Kyiv and other cities. The recent strike on the Pivdenmash military plant in Dnipropetrovsk reinforces that assumption.

Zelensky asks for more air defence

Considering Ukraine’s needs, US President Joe Biden stated that he would announce new measures to strengthen the war-torn country’s air defences at a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, according to the BBC.

We will be announcing new measures to strengthen Ukraine’s air defences to help protect their cities and civilians from Russian strikes. I will be meeting with President Zelensky to make clear our support for Ukraine is unshakeable.

Earlier, United States National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, also announced several statements by Washington and a number of allies at the NATO summit regarding support for Ukraine. The agenda will include strengthening air defence and Ukraine’s possible accession to NATO.

Back in December, Zelensky said that Patriot air defence systems would only be enough to protect Kyiv, according to Politico.

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