Putin humiliated as ‘premier’ missiles successfully intercepted, says UK MoD

Russia appears to be adapting its war strategy to the changing of the season, as wintry conditions make it nearly impossible to use heavy machinery and move troops on the battlefield.

In a fresh barrage of atttacks, the Russian air force targeted central Ukraine and the Kyiv area with a series of major strikes.

As noted by the British Defence Ministry, the attacks are believed to have been carried out from Tu-95 BEAR H aircraft and Moscow likely used its “premier air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs)”, the AS-23a KODIAK, on December 7.

However, Ukraine dealt a heavy blow to the Kremlin, the MoD said in its latest intelligence update on the war in eastern Europe.

The briefing read: “Initial reports indicate the majority of these missiles were successfully intercepted by Ukrainian air defence.”

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Speaking more broadly about the attack, the UK MoD noted this was the first time the Russian air force used its heavy bomber fleet since September 21.

It added: “These aircraft, highly likely Tu-95 BEAR H, likely launched at least 16 air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) from their typical operating area over the Caspian Sea.

“The missiles were highly likely AS-23a KODIAK, Russia’s premier ALCM. Russia has almost certainly been stockpiling these missiles for use in the winter campaign.”

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While it wasn’t the success Russia likely hoped, this attack may mark the “start of a more concerted campaign by Russia aimed at degrading Ukraine’s energy infrastructure”, the British MoD added.

During the autumn and winter months of 2022, Russia carried out a series of relentless attacks on critical infrastructure that left millions of Ukrainians without power.

By October 2022, as a result of intense Russian strikes, at least 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy facilities had been reportedly seriously damaged.

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Two months later, the Ukrainian authorities said over 50 percent of energy users in the country had seen their electricity supply cut off.

Russia isn’t alone in modifying its war strategy for the coming months. Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky noted the war with Russia was entering a new stage.

He told AP: “We have a new phase of war, and that is a fact. Winter as a whole is a new phase of war.”

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