Russia’s air defense chiefs under pressure amid continued Ukrainian drone attacks: UK

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Russia’s Aerospace Forces leadership are under “intense pressure” to improve the air defenses amid continued Ukrainian drone attacks inside Russian territory, the British ministry of defense said on Sunday in its war intelligence update.

“The leadership of Russia’s Aerospace Forces (VKS) is highly likely under intense pressure to improve air defenses over western Russia. In recent months, the range of threats penetrating well inside Russia has increased,” the UK intelligence report said.

It added: “Strikes deep inside Russia are strategically important because President [Vladimir] Putin almost certainly invaded Ukraine on the assumption that it would have little direct effect on Russians.”

Furthermore, the report highlighted that “uncrewed Aerial Vehicles are regularly hitting Moscow. In addition, there have also been increasing reports of SA-5 GAMMON missiles striking Russia.”

“This Soviet-era 7.5 tonne, 11-metre long weapon is retired from its air defense role in Ukraine’s inventory. However, it is now apparently being employed as a ground attack ballistic missile.”

In terms of Russian aerospace forces leadership, British intelligence showed: “Pressure is likely to particularly fall on VKS Chief of Staff, Colonel-General Viktor Afzalov; VKS Commander-in-Chief General Sergei Surovikin remains absent, suspected to have been detained in relation to the June 2023 Wagner Group mutiny.”

This comes as drone warfare intensifies between Moscow and Kyiv, with both sides using UAVs to strike the heartland of the other side, usually targeting vital infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that a clear and present danger of potential drone attacks on Moscow exists and appropriate security measures are being taken. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces increased the intensity of UAV attacks targeting the Russian capital.

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