Russia is launching unarmed cruise missiles on order in Ukraine to divert Ukrainian air defenses. This was announced on Tuesday at a press briefing by a senior Pentagon official. Journalists expect him to comment on the words of British military intelligence officials on November 26 that Russia “probably seizes nuclear warheads with its cruise missiles and uses missiles to distract Ukrainian air defenses.”
British intelligence cited an open-source photo of the wreckage of a Kh-55 air defense cruise missile shot down by Ukrainians, developed in the USSR in the 1980s as a means of delivering a charge. According to the British military, nuclear warheads on missiles have been replaced with empty danglers, but such missiles can still cause damage due to the missiles’ kinetic energy and unused fuel.
Commenting on this information, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that “it is certainly what they [Россия] to do to reduce the effect of the air defense systems that the Ukrainians use.”
The Pentagon also believes that a series of Russian missile strikes against Ukraine, among other things, is aimed at depleting the ammunition of Ukrainian air defense, and thus achieving dominance in the sky of Ukraine.
It is for this reason that the United States and its allies are focused primarily on deliveries of air defense systems and warheads for them. These include both stable air defense systems of the Soviet era, and more modern, Western ones.
Patriot missile defense systems are one of many options being discussed by NATO allies to help Kyiv defend against Russian missiles, a Pentagon official said.
The United States has already sent eight NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine, two of which are due to be delivered in the near future, and six more later.
In addition, there are more than 1,400 Stinger MANPADS for air defense in Ukraine, as well as radars for air defense and air surveillance.