10:27 17 May 2024

Russian reconnaissance drones can penetrate deep into Ukrainian territory – ISW

Photo: SYPAQ/Twitter

The Russian troops can carry out reconnaissance using drones in the deep Ukrainian territory as Ukraine lacks sufficient air defense.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) states this.

According to the Royal United Defense Research Institute (RUSI) report on May 14, Ukraine had to compensate for decreased anti-aircraft missile system supplies. This resulted in Russian reconnaissance drones being able to freely fly over areas in the rear of Ukraine, including Kharkiv. Additionally, Russia improved its troops' reconnaissance and fire capabilities through its optimized reconnaissance fire complex.

RUSI said that reducing the supply of anti-aircraft interceptors forced Ukraine to make difficult decisions regarding deploying air defenses over critical infrastructure facilities in the rear or near-front areas.

RUSI notes that well-equipped Ukrainian forces have previously been able to limit Russian intelligence capabilities during a full-scale invasion.

Russian forces conducted a large-scale air campaign against Kharkiv as part of their offensive operations in the north of the city. They used glide bomb strikes to support Russian ground maneuvers in the Kharkiv region.

Russian troops, in particular, used glider bomb strikes for tactical purposes during the capture of Avdiivka. Ukrainian forces need Western-made air defense interceptors to destroy Russian reconnaissance drones in the rear and on the front lines and defeat the optimized Russian air defenses that enable Russian tactical advance along the front.

ISW Key Findings as of May 16:

  • Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces are stabilizing the situation along the northern border in the Kharkiv region and that the tempo of Russian offensive operations in the area continues to decrease.
  • Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko reported that Russian forces have executed civilians and taken civilians captive in Vovchansk.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin likely views Russia's relationship with the People's Republic of China (PRC) as decisive to his effort to mobilize the Russian economy and defense industry further to support a protracted war in Ukraine.
  • Putin also used his meeting with Xi to promote known Kremlin narratives feigning interest in peace negotiations and a diplomatic resolution to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian forces are reportedly able to conduct fixed-wing drone reconnaissance deep in the Ukrainian rear due to Ukraine's lack of air defense interceptors.
  • Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful drone strikes against a Russian defense industrial plant in Tula City on the night of May 15 to 16.
  • Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian energy infrastructure since March 2024 have likely caused long-term damage to Ukrainian energy infrastructure and repeated energy blackouts.
  • A Russian insider source, who has previously accurately reported on Russian military command changes, claimed that senior Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials are vying for the Chief of the General Staff position.
  • Kremlin and Georgian officials promoted established Kremlin information operations, alleging that the West is orchestrating protests against Georgia's "foreign agent" law to overthrow the Georgian government.
  • Türkiye and Russia are reportedly exploiting European Union (EU) sanctions regulations to export Russian oil to the EU, allowing Russia to continue to receive significant oil revenues to fund its war effort in Ukraine.
  • Russia reportedly launched a satellite as part of its program to develop a nuclear anti-satellite weapon in the weeks before Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, likely as part of Russian preparations for a future confrontation with NATO.
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Lyptsi, Vovchansk, Kupiansk, and Donetsk City.
  • Several Russian opposition media outlets reported on May 16 that Russian State Duma Defense Committee Chairman Andrei Kartapolov rejected a bill granting deferment from mobilization to certain Russian civilians, likely to support ongoing and future crypto-mobilization efforts.

It should be noted that this night, the forces and means of air defense of Ukraine's armed forces eliminated all the kamikaze drones launched by the Russian occupiers to launch strikes on the territory of Ukraine.

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