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New challenge: Why there are no guarantees that Ukraine will repel 100% of Russian attacks

New challenge: Why there are no guarantees that Ukraine will repel 100% of Russian attacks Ukraine's air defense system's readiness for possible fall and winter attacks (Getty Images)

Ukraine will be able to confront the challenge that Russia may pose this winter by launching new massive attacks. However, it cannot guarantee that its air defense will intercept 100% of these attacks, as there's no such comprehensive anti-aircraft system in the world, according to Ivan Kyrychevskyi, an expert at the Defense Express Media and Consulting Company.

In terms of quality, Ukrainian air defense system has improved. We now have several Patriot systems that can intercept ballistic targets, a certain number of NASAMS and Iris-T anti-aircraft missile systems. In addition, we have acquired Gepard systems. This is significant because our old Soviet anti-aircraft systems like Shylka and Tunhuska have almost reached the end of their operational life. Thus, we have managed to partially replace short-range air defense means with Gepards.

According to Western analysts' assessments, as of the summer of this year, we faced a problem: we have many launchers for Soviet complexes, but finding missiles for them worldwide is difficult, as the main manufacturer is the Russian Federation. Moreover, there are no longer as many Soviet anti-aircraft missile systems anywhere else in the world. So, despite the improvement in the quality of our air defense, the problem of a shortage of Soviet-style anti-aircraft missiles has not disappeared.

What has been supplied to Ukraine cannot yet replace the quantity of C-300 or Buk systems that the country already has. Calculations as of 2016 showed that even with such coverage, Ukraine had too few anti-aircraft missile divisions. There were still blind spots. So, even if we model receiving an equivalent number of NASAMS and Iris-T to replace Ukraine's existing C-300 systems, we would still have blind spots. Therefore, we need as much as possible, and even that may not be enough.

Furthermore, the scale of the Shahed attacks on Ukraine's territory has led to the need to mobilize resources to create mobile fire groups. These are military units equipped with small arms, anti-aircraft machine guns, and searchlights, which are meant to provide a certain density of means and forces to counter these Shahed attacks. There are simply more of them than we have anti-aircraft missiles, so there is a need to work on countering them with small arms. Perhaps this is why the Russians are relying on these drones for attacks, as they are physically more challenging to intercept than ordinary cruise missiles.

Comparing to the past autumn, Ukraine remains just as strong. There have been improvements in terms of quality. But when it comes to quantitative coverage, it is roughly at the same level. Therefore, Ukraine will be able to face the challenge that the Russians pose to the country. However, there's no guarantee that Ukrainian air defense will intercept 100% of the attacks. Such an air defense system simply does not exist in the world.