The military situation today: the Russians threaten Western weapons convoys, but are unable to hit them

Of Andrea Marinelli and Guido Olimpio

Putin’s army does not yet have the weapons or a network in the field to massively hit moving targets with cruise or ballistic missiles: the risk of hitting outside the Ukrainian borders, where deliveries are made

On Saturday, the Russians said they considered legitimate targets i Western arms convoys arriving in Ukrainebut the reality of the camp is another: Vladimir Putin’s army does not yet have weapons or a network on the ground to massively hitting moving targets with cruise or ballistic missiles. To be able to destroy – or at least hinder – these shipments of war material, analysts argue, they should first of all intensify intelligence work, and then take greater risks on the battlefield. As for intelligence, the Moscow intelligence network proved extremely deficient in preparing for the conflict, so much so that the Tsar had the head of the foreign service of the FSB Sergej Beseda and his deputy Anatolij Bolyukh arrested, guilty of having provided an inaccurate picture of the Ukrainian reality: they were not just officials, in fact they acted in coordination with some key figures in the Kremlin. however likely that the Russians will relaunch efforts to identify convoys routesperhaps relying on cores of saboteurs who act behind enemy lines.

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As for the major risks, to intercept Western convoys the Russian General Staff should send aircraft into contested airspacewith the danger that they will be shot down, or raiders into territories that are not in their control. For now, the Russian army has only one alternative: missiles, such as those that hit the Yavoriv base on Sunday morning, a few kilometers from the Polish border, an installation and therefore easily identifiable. In this case, however, they must be ready to sacrifice a good number of stand-off missiles of which they are already short and that at least in part will not reach the goal. The Ukrainian air defenses also have the ability to intercept Russian cruise ships, even if this is not enough to create a shield: certainly, after the attack on Yavoriv, ​​the army of Kiev and NATO will adapt. Washington, in fact, is evaluating the possibility of delivering anti-aircraft missile batteries to the Ukrainians from neighboring countries and not just portable systems. However, Putin’s army is also adapting and changing. The Russians, despite the losses suffered, continue the slow erosion of the opponent. Few have any illusions.


The real risk, notes Tyler Rogoway, director of The War Zonethat the Moscow army strikes outside the Ukrainian borderswhere deliveries of weapons are made that then arrive by land – with trucks, trains, disguised cars, but also ordinary civilian cars – to the Ukrainian resistance: for example the Rzeszow Jasionka air base, in Poland, which has become the logistics center for shipping westerners. Such an attack would amount to a declaration of war on the whole of NATO, and it could also happen by mistake. There is also the issue of the precise recognition of a target. How will they tell a van loaded with food from one with ammunition? We will need precise reports to be sent to the aviation or to commandos.

The margins of error are wide, dramatic situations that are reproduced in every conflict, always the strongest to dictate the rules of engagement. Putin ignores human rights. Attempts to hinder supply chains are always complex. The Americans launched all kinds of actions to block the Ho Chi Minh trail, created by North Vietnam to assist the Vietcong: bombs, sensors and even an original method entrusted to local allies. To some Laotians, who did not know English, a small device with buttons was provided, each one marked with a little drawing which depicted a truck, soldiers, animals, cannons: the lookout had to simply press the button when sighting the targets and from here a signal for an American reconnaissance was sent. But the river continued to flow.


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