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British intel: Russia saving up weapons for winter strikes on Ukraine

While pauses in Russian airstrikes have occurred before, the current three-week lull is the longest since spring 2023
British intel: Russia saving up weapons for winter strikes on Ukraine

Russia have not conducted a strike against Ukraine since 21 September 2023, a period of 21 days, preserving existing stocks of AS-23 missiles for attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure over winter 2023-2024, the UK Defense Ministry reported.

According to the UK intel, such break have not been unusual. The last similar break in strikes occurred between 9 March and 28 April 2023, a period of 51 days.

In that instance it was likely that Russia had almost depleted its stocks of capable AS-23 missile munitions following its winter campaign against Ukrainian critical national infrastructure.

Recently, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence also warned that Russia replenished missiles supply for striking energy and oil infrastructure objects as well as military facilities ahead of a new heating season. He emphasized that Ukraine needs significantly more air defense systems to counter missile attacks than it already has.

The UK intel also tweeted:

  • Recently, Russia has focused its airstrikes against grain-related facilities across the south if Ukraine, using SHAHED one-way-attack uncrewed aerial vehicles.
  • This included strikes agains Ukrainian Danube River ports, which likely required a high level of accuracy due to the target’s proximity to the Romanian border.
  • It is likely that Russia used SHAHED OWA UAVs on these targets because of their better accuracy over other types of air-launched missiles.”

October 11 Russian drone strikes on Ukrainian ports near the Romanian border led to the discovery of a crater near the village of Plauru. Plauru lies on the Romanian bank of the Danube, facing the Ukrainian city of Izmail across the river.

Overnight into 26 September, Russia launched 38 Shahed-136/131 UAVs from the southeast. Drones were sent into Odesa Oblast. The attacks damaged port infrastructure in the Izmail district, including a checkpoint building and warehouses. Around 30 trucks caught fire. The Operational Command South spokesperson, Nataliia Humeniuk, confirmed that Russian drones did not cross the border with Romania. But Ukrainian border guards closed the checkpoint with Romania due to the night attack on Odesa Oblast.

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