Ukrainian air defenses intercepted and destroyed more than 250 missiles and drones launched by Russia at Kyiv in May, the capital’s military administration said on Monday, while the UK’s latest intelligence update said Moscow’s “intense” aerial strategy was unsuccessful.
“In May, air defenses destroyed 7 Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, 13 Iskander ballistic missiles, 65 cruise missiles, and 169 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) over Kyiv,” reported Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform citing the press service of the Kyiv city military administration.
At the end of May, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that using the US-supplied Patriot anti-missile systems ensured his country’s forces had a 100 percent interception rate against Russia's aerial attacks. His assertion came after an intense month-long Russian bombardment against Kyiv and other Ukrainian territories using both missiles and drones.
The British ministry of defense said in its war intelligence update on Monday: “Over the course of May 2023, Russia launched over 300 Iranian Shahed series one way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA-UAVs) against Ukraine: its most intense use of this weapon system to date.”
The UK intelligence updated added: “Russia is probably launching so many [drones] in an attempt to force Ukraine to fire stocks of valuable, advanced air defense missiles.”
However, the intelligence report said the Russian strategy to provoke the Ukrainians into engaging their aerial systems to respond did not bear fruit: “Russia is unlikely to have been notably successful: Ukraine has neutralized at least 90 percent of the incoming OWA-UAVs mostly using its older and cheaper air defense weapons and with electronic jamming. Russia has also likely been attempting to locate and strike Ukrainian forces well behind the front line. However, Russia remains very ineffective at hitting such dynamic targets at range because of its poor targeting processes.”