Report finds 90 percent of Russia’s projectile weapons failed in May


A report published Wednesday said air defenses successfully destroyed approximately 90 percent of the projectile weapons Russia launched against Ukraine in May.

The analysis came from the Kyiv Post, which said data released from Ukraine’s Air Force showed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military attempted to attack Ukraine with more than 500 missiles and “kamikaze” drones in May at a cost of more than $1.7 billion.

The Post‘s report came after Russia’s massive drone offensive this past weekend on Kyiv. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. think tank, said Tuesday that those aggressive drone attacks—one of the largest offensives against the capital city during the war—were unsuccessful. Citing the Ukrainian General Staff, ISW wrote in its assessment that 29 out of 31 drones Russia launched against Kyiv during the weekend strikes were shot down.

The entire month showed a similar pattern for Russian projectiles. The Kyiv Post said that in 20 combined Russian aerial attacks during May, 533 out of 563 Russian missiles and Iranian-manufactured Shahed drones were taken down by Ukrainian air defenses.

Remain of Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile at an exhibition showing remains of missiles and drones that Russia used to attack Kyiv on May 12, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. A new report said 90 percent of Russian missiles—such as Kinzhal—were successfully shot down by Ukraine’s air defenses in May.
Oleksii Samsonov/Global Images Ukraine/Getty

A large portion of the Russian projectiles destroyed by the air defenses were incoming drones, of which 362 were destroyed for a neutralization percentage that was over 90 percent.

The Post noted that each of the roughly 400 Shahed drones deployed carries a price tag of around $20,000, which would add up to a tally of around $8 million in May.

The missile responsible for the most money lost is the one that Russia used the most during May: Kh101-555s. The Post said 114 of these missiles were deployed—and 106 destroyed—by Ukraine, at an estimated cost of $1.48 billion.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via email for comment.

The data from the Ukrainian armed forces used by the Post for its report could not be independently verified by Newsweek. However, a May study released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a U.S. think tank, also documented what it called Russia’s “strategically ineffective” missile strikes campaign.

Ian Williams, the author of the CSIS study, attributed Ukraine’s “increasing success in intercepting Russian cruise missiles” to an “influx of Western air defenses systems in October and November 2022.”

Throughout the 15 months of the war, commentators have speculated that Russia could run out of missiles because the country was not capable of producing the weapons at a rapid rate. In January, Estonian Intelligence Chief Margo Grosberg said Putin’s forces may be able to carry out missile strikes against Ukraine for only three to four more months.

However, in late 2022 Putin encouraged his government to work toward ramping up weapons production following his military’s multiple battlefield losses. Russia also turned to Iran, which sold Putin thousands of drones.


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