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Ukraine likely began using EW to counter Russian air attacks, while Russians rapidly increased the use of chemical weapons — ISW

On 13 January, Ukrainian military officials stated for the first time that electronic warfare successfully countered part of Russian missile attacks. It was previously credited only for countering drones. Meanwhile, Russian troops have increased the use of chemical weapons several times in the first weeks of 2024, ISW assessed.
Russia, Tu-22M3, X-32 missile
Russian Tu-22M3 with an X-32 missile before the first test launch in February 2021. Credit: open sources

On 13 January 2023, a Ukrainian air force spokesman, for the first time, stated that Ukrainian forces disabled over 20 of the Russian missiles using “active countermeasures by means of electronic warfare.” The missiles missed their targets, “which may be an inflection in Ukrainian electronic warfare capabilities that are normally credited with disabling Russian drones but not missile systems,” ISW concluded in its assessment.

Russia has resumed its long-range air strikes on Ukraine since 1 January 2024, using various types of missiles, including Surface-to-air S-300 missiles in a ballistic mode, Shahed combat drones, Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles, numerous cruise missiles dispatched from strategic bombers and additional cruise missiles and guided aviation missiles from various Russian territories. In November 2023, Ukraine’s Commander-in-chief, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, listed electronic warfare among the top 5 priorities Ukraine should develop to counter Russia.

ISW also noted that Russia has dramatically increased the use of chemical weapons in the first weeks of 2024. According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Russian forces have used chemical weapons 626 times since the beginning of the full-scale invasion and have used them at least 51 times in 2024 already, which means nearly 8% of all cases were indicated in the last 14 days of the already 690-day-long war.

ISW notes that the Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade acknowledged on 22 December 2023 that the brigade deliberately uses chemical weapons by dropping K-51 grenades from drones onto Ukrainian positions near Krynky in the east bank of Kherson Oblast. Russia is a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of that type of weapon as a method of warfare.

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