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Why Russia struck Kyiv after a pause and whether energy remains a target: Expert's opinion

Why Russia struck Kyiv after a pause and whether energy remains a target: Expert's opinion After a pause, the Russians decided to strike Kyiv (Photo: Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

On the night of June 12, Russian forces launched a massive air attack on Ukraine. Initially, the enemy launched Shahed drones, followed by various types of missiles. This time, the targets were Kyiv and the region, and the distinctive feature was how the Russians decided to use their Tu-95MS aircraft.

RBC-Ukraine discussed with Oleksandr Kovalenko, a military-political analyst of the Information Resistance Group, why Russia struck the Ukrainian capital after a pause and what the current goals of the attacks are.


Is energy still the main target?

According to the expert, Ukrainian energy infrastructure remains the primary target for the aggressor nation. Additionally, he notes that the enemy has not abandoned strikes on airfields either.

"Especially military airfields, where F-16s and necessary infrastructure could potentially be located. That is why these strikes are being carried out," Kovalenko believes.

It's worth noting that the Russians often strike Myrhorod and Starokostiantyniv. Moreover, since spring, energy infrastructure has remained a main target for the occupiers. As the Minister of Energy, Herman Halushchenko, previously mentioned, the Russians aim to cause a blackout in Ukraine. The enemy has partially succeeded in implementing this plan, as Ukrainians are already experiencing power outages. National power company Ukrenergo explains that the main reason is the aftermath of six missile strikes on Ukrainian power plants. Due to significant damage, they cannot produce as much electricity as before these attacks began.

Why did Russia decide to strike Kyiv after a pause?

This time, Russian forces decided to attack the capital after a brief pause (the last strike on Kyiv was on May 31). The expert points out that it raises an interesting question as to why the Russians targeted the city and lists several possible reasons.

"They have repeatedly confirmed that Kyiv has a fairly strong, layered air defense system, which is difficult to penetrate. Especially if the attack is carried out with a limited number of munitions, as it was this time. So, it wasn't about breaking through the capital's air defenses. Therefore, it is quite possible that this was a test; they were trying to determine which systems are currently present in Kyiv," Kovalenko suggests.

He explains that missiles like the Kh-101, which the enemy used that night, can be intercepted by all short- and medium-range air defense systems employed by Ukrainian forces, whereas Kinzhals (one of which was used) can only be intercepted by Patriot or SAMP-T systems.

"Therefore, perhaps they were trying to determine the location of these systems or whether they have been changed, and whether they are still around Kyiv," Kovalenko noted.

Why did Russia launch only one missile from each Tu-95MS?

It also raises questions why during this attack, Russia did not use a single Tu-95MS bomber, which can carry up to eight missiles, but instead used four such aircraft.

"Launching one missile each...burning fuel, using up the resources of four aircraft. This is a very strange aspect. But it's not the first time it has been mentioned that their Tu-95MS aircraft are very old, tens and tens of years old. And their overall resource capacity is essentially exhausted," says Kovalenko.

According to him, it is quite possible that for the crews of some aircraft, it is now risky to use a full complement of munitions due to the aircraft's depleted resources. Therefore, they try to minimize this by launching 2-4 missiles from one aircraft, or even just one, as was the case this time.

What is known about the consequences of the night attack

Recall that last night, the occupiers launched a missile-air strike on Ukraine, using air- and ground-based missiles, as well as strike drones. In total, there were 30 air attack means: 6 missiles and 24 Shahed drones. Overall, the air defense destroyed:

4 out of 4 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles;
1 out of 1 Kh-47M2 Kinzhal aeroballistic missile;
24 out of 24 Shahed-131/136 strike UAVs.

However, they failed to intercept the Iskander-M ballistic missile.

Despite this, there were consequences due to falling debris. In the Kyiv region, one person was injured, and several objects in two districts were damaged.

In one district, a fire broke out at an industrial facility. Fire and rescue units from Kyiv region, the city of Kyiv, and Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian railways) are involved in extinguishing the fire. More than 105 people and 30 units of equipment are involved. Debris also damaged a private house, a gas station, and a garage. In another district, a warehouse caught fire.

Sources: Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Kyiv Regional Military Administration, State Emergency Service, and an exclusive comment from military-political analyst Oleksandr Kovalenko.