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Ukrainian intel: Elements of Russia’s single S-500 air defense system relocated from Moscow to Crimea

Amid escalated Ukrainian strikes against Russian air defenses, Russia has deployed parts of its only operational S-500 air defense missile system to occupied Crimea, as per Ukrainian intelligence.
ukrainian intel elements russia's single s-500 air defense system relocated from moscow crimea launcher illustrative mod с-500_российский_зенитный_ракетный_комплекс
Launcher of Russia’s S-500 air defense system. Illustrative photo: Russia’s MoD.
Ukrainian intel: Elements of Russia’s single S-500 air defense system relocated from Moscow to Crimea

Russia has deployed components of its newest and most advanced S-500 surface-to-air missile and anti-ballistic missile defense system to the occupied Crimean peninsula, Ukraine’s spymaster says. The move comes in response to recent successful strikes by Ukrainian forces against Russian air defense assets in Crimea.

The Chief of Ukrainian Directorate of Intelligence (HUR), Kyrylo Budanov, stated that “elements of the S-500 have appeared” in Crimea, which he described as a “trial use” of the system by Russian forces. Budanov indicated this deployment aims to protect critical facilities and reinforce logistics connections between the occupied Crimean peninsula and Russia from potential Ukrainian missile attacks, Suspilne reported.

The S-500 “Prometheus” represents Russia’s latest long-range anti-aircraft system, designed to complement the existing S-400 systems by providing enhanced missile defense capabilities.

However, Budanov noted that only certain “elements” of the full S-500 system have been moved to Crimea so far, suggesting it may be operating in a limited configuration during this initial deployment to the occupied region.

Additionally, Budanov confirmed that Russian military logistics and troop movements continue to rely on the Kerch Strait Bridge connecting occupied Crimea to Russia, despite Ukrainian strikes. He stated the bridge “is always used and will be used as long as it exists” for transporting personnel, though less for cargo shipments currently carried by ferries.

S-500 Prometheus

The Russian S-500 surface-to-air missile system is designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles, and aircraft. Russia claimed the system had a range of 600 km for anti-ballistic missiles and 500 km for air defense. The S-500 allegedly has the capability to track and engage up to 10 hypersonic targets at altitudes up to 200 km, with a response time under 4 seconds.

The first S-500 air defense system, deployed in Moscow in October 2021, failed to meet the full operational requirements. In April 2024, Russia again announced the initial deployment of the S-500 “Prometey” missile systems to its troops.

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