Ukraine Destroys Series of Russian Air-Defense Systems in Precision Strikes

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Ukraine has taken out several of Russia’s air-defense systems, Kyiv’s authorities have said, as President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the targeting of Russian missile launchers and the bolstering of Ukraine’s own air-defense assets.

Kyiv’s SBU security service said on Saturday that it had destroyed several Russian air-defense systems in unspecified locations, including four of Russia’s advanced Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems, three Pantsir-S1 wheeled, short-range systems and one Buk medium-range system.

“It’s not fireworks. It’s the destruction of [R]ussian air defense systems,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. It did not specify the time period during which the systems were reportedly targeted.

Ukraine has consistently targeted Moscow’s advanced air-defense systems, and recent assessments suggest Kyiv may be zeroing in on the threats posed by Russian assets to its new F-16 fighter jet fleet.

Ukraine is expected to have the Western-made jets join its air force in the coming weeks, although the exact timeline has been vague and subject to change since Kyiv’s Western allies pledged the aircraft last year.

Earlier this month, Ukraine’s military said it had struck components of three Russian advanced air defense systems in Crimea. Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency, later told Ukrainian media that Russia had placed components of an “experimental” S-500 anti-aircraft missile system in Crimea. Unconfirmed reports from this week suggest Russia may have taken a hit to part of the S-500 system on the peninsula.

On Sunday, Ukraine’s government said its military had destroyed two Russian air- defense systems in the past day, bringing its tally of Russian losses of such weaponry since February 2022 to 873. Newsweek could not independently verify this count.

Footage shared by the SBU and Kyiv’s Defense Ministry over the weekend appears to show a Ukrainian fixed-wing drone strike one of Russia’s Tor-M2 systems, followed by a clip purportedly showing an attack on a Pantsir-S1 system. The Pantsir-S1 is sometimes referred to as an SA-22 or Greyhound system.

Newsweek could not independently verify the footage, and has reached out to the SBU and Russia’s Defense Ministry for comment.

On Saturday, Ukrainian officials said a Russian missile attack on the town of Vilniansk, in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, had killed seven people, including two children, and injured more than 30 others.

Referencing the strike, Zelensky said the country’s “cities and communities suffer daily from such Russian attacks,” adding: “There are ways to overcome it.”

Kyiv needs to “destroy Russian missile launchers, strike really long-range and increase the number of modern air-defense systems in Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a post to messaging app Telegram on Saturday.

Source; News week

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