In a recent update from British intelligence as of December 11, 2023, it has been revealed that the Russian Air Force executed a significant wave of strikes targeting Kyiv and central Ukraine during the night of December 7. This marks the first deployment of its heavy bomber fleet for such purposes since September 21, 2023.
The aircraft involved are highly likely identified as Tu-95 BEAR H, which reportedly launched at least 16 air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs). The primary missile used in this operation is believed to be the AS-23a KODIAK, considered Russia’s premier ALCM. There are indications that Russia has been stockpiling these missiles for deployment in the ongoing winter campaign.
The nature of this airstrike suggests a potential shift in Russia’s strategy, with an apparent focus on degrading Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The target, in this case, aligns with the broader geopolitical context of the conflict.
Despite the strategic intentions, initial reports indicate a measure of success for Ukrainian air defense, with the majority of the launched missiles reportedly intercepted. While there has been at least one civilian casualty reported, the overall damage appears to be minimal at this point.
The situation underscores the ongoing escalation in the conflict and the challenges faced by both sides. The use of heavy bombers and advanced cruise missiles adds a new dimension to the military dynamics, prompting heightened vigilance from the international community.
The report from British intelligence sheds light on the evolving tactics in the conflict and emphasizes the need for continued monitoring and response strategies. As the situation develops, it remains a critical focus for global security efforts, with the impact extending beyond the immediate region. The ability of Ukraine to successfully defend against such airstrikes showcases the resilience of its defense systems in the face of evolving threats.