The Kremlin has hit Ukraine in the last 72 hours with the most intense ballistic missile fire since the early days of the full-scale war, and the intensity of Russia’s long-range strikes is comparable to Iraq’s bombing of Saudi Arabia in the 1991 Gulf War, according to official Ukrainian military reports Scud missiles deployed.

Ukraine’s air defense forces, taking on Moscow’s attack, may also have set a new world record for ballistic missile launches in a day, unconfirmed data recently released by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army (AGS) and other state bodies showed.

According to the Ukrainian military, on Monday, December 11, air defense units stationed around Kiev shot down eight Russian-launched ballistic missiles and at least 16 kamikaze drones. In recent months, Kremlin attack planners have used a mix of cruise missiles and drones instead of ballistic missiles to attack Ukrainian homes and businesses.

The common definition of a ballistic missile is a weapon powered by a rocket engine that is fired in a parabolic, high arc near the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere before descending to its target, assisted by gravity, accelerating to hypersonic speeds of nearly six times are as high as the earth’s atmosphere sound.

Unlike a motorcycle-sized kamikaze drone or a torpedo-sized cruise missile, which the Kremlin most commonly uses in attacks against Ukraine in 2023, a Russian Iskander-M ballistic missile weighs about four tons and is longer than a city bus.

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On Wednesday, Kiev claimed it had shot down 10 Russian ballistic missiles aimed at the Ukrainian capital. Two normally reliable independent sources, military journalist Andriy Tsaplienko and war information platform Geoconfirmed, identified the Kremlin attack package as a mix of low-precision S-300 missiles, a weapon also used for air defense, and modern, high-precision Iksander missiles . M rockets.

Russian military information channels widely reported that Iskander-M missiles were the main weapon in the attacks on Monday and Wednesday. When fired at ground targets, both missiles follow a high arc ballistic trajectory.

UNSCOM inspectors in charge of Iraq’s disarmament inspect Iraq’s Al-Hussein Scud launchers before their destruction at an unspecified location in Iraq. PHOTO: AFP

Russia’s nuclear-capable Iskander missile (NATO codename SS-26 Stone) is transported on an eight-wheel truck and, according to the manufacturer’s advertising, its main weapon is a ballistic missile with a maximum range of 620 km and a load capacity of 480-780 kg. Depending on the model, the warhead contains high explosives.

The truck is also designed to launch a cruise missile, but the ballistic missile was used more frequently in the Russo-Ukraine War.

The heaviest Russian missile fire into Ukraine likely occurred in the early days of the invasion in February 2022 Launched more than 100 medium-range missiles at targets across the country.

The attack, using a significant portion of Russian ballistic missiles, was part of an unsuccessful campaign to force regime change in Ukraine using shock and awe tactics. Since then, it has been rare for Russian forces to fire more than four ballistic missiles.

According to information platform, Iraq fired 83 ballistic missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia and Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, almost all of them Scud missiles, a precursor to Russia’s modern Soviet-era Iskander missiles. The US Army fired 150 Patriot missiles and shot down 45 incoming Scud missiles during the 43-day conflict.

The Patriot system used by the American armed forces at the time, called PAC-1, was an early model variant designed primarily to intercept aircraft rather than ballistic missiles.

The Patriot systems operated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) are reportedly a more modern PAC-3 model with improved electronics and upgrades to increase the chances of successful ballistic missile interception.

The AFU reportedly deploys two Patriot systems, one from the US and one from Germany. A modern Franco-Italian missile called SAMP/T rounds out Ukraine’s arsenal of cutting-edge, long-range air defense systems.

According to recent news reports, a second Patriot system donated by Germany recently arrived in Ukraine, but it is not clear whether it is already in use.

The first known successful intercept of a ballistic missile in combat, a Patriot shootdown of an Iraqi Scud missile aimed at a target in Saudi Arabia, occurred on January 17, 1991.

According to some sources, the most successful day of ballistic missile interception in history was January 20, 1991, when Iraq fired ten Scud missiles at Saudi Arabia and coalition forces shot down nine, with the tenth reportedly falling into the sea.

The Ukrainians claimed on Wednesday that ten ballistic missiles were launched in one day.

In Monday’s strike against Kiev, one man was hit by shrapnel and three women were treated for stress when debris fell near their homes.

On Wednesday, falling debris from several fired Russian missiles injured 53 people, four of them seriously, Ukraine’s official statement said.

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