Putin gets desperate and turns to 'Soviet-era' missile as Russian forces 'hollowed' out

Ukraine: Aftermath of Russian strikes on building in Kyiv

The news comes as the latest intelligence report from the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) suggests Russian forces are being held back by Ukrainian defences in the east of the nation. The last several days have seen Russian turn to long-range missiles fired from bomber jets, with the report suggesting some were fired from Belarussian airspace.

The report suggests Ukrainian forces have been actively defending the cities of Lyschansak and Severodonetsk.

It read: “Ukrainian forces continue to consolidate their positions on higher ground in the city of Lyschansak, after falling back from Severodonetsk.

“Ukrainian forces continue to disrupt Russian command and control with successful strikes deep behind Russian lines.”

Yet, it was the use of old technology that demonstrated that Russian forces are running low on equipment.

The report continued: “Over June 26-26, Russia launched unusually intense waves of strikes across Ukraine using long-range missiles.

“These weapons highly likely included the Soviet-era AS-4 KITCHEN and more modern AS-23a KODIAK missiles, fired from both Belarussian and Russian airspace.”

Putin and Backfire

Putin has resorted to Soviet-era missiles fired from long distances (Image: Getty)

AS-4 Missile

An AS-4 KITCHEN missile seen here mounted on a Tu-22 (Image: Aviation.ru)

The report continued with an assessment of Russia’s use of such weapons.

It read: “These weapons were designed to take on targets of strategic importance, but Russia continues to expend them in large numbers for tactical advantage.

“Similarly, it fielded the core elements of six different armies yet achieved only tactical success at Severodonetsk.

“The Russian armed forces are increasingly hollowed out.

“They currently accept a level of degraded combat effectiveness, which is probably unsustainable in the long term.”

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Tu-22 Backfire

The older style missiles were likely launched from a Tu-22 “Backfire” bomber (Image: Getty)

Shopping Mall

A shopping mall in Ukraine was hit killing many inside, the act has been labelled a war crime (Image: UKRAINIAN STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE / HANDOUT)

On Monday, a Russian missile struck a busy shopping centre in Ukraine.

Inside the building were believed to be thousands of shoppers at the time of the attack, which has been labelled by Western sources as a war crime.

Speaking of the disaster, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “Fortunately, as far as we know, at that time, many people managed to get out, they managed to get out, but there were still people inside… workers and some visitors.”

At least 15 people were killed, according to a Telegram post from Dmytro Lunin, the head of the Poltava region military administration, who said earlier that the death toll could rise.

Around 58 people were injured, Ukraine’s State Emergency Services said.

The figures could be set to rise as rescuers search through the scorched remains.

Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address Monday that the rescue operation was ongoing and that “we must be aware that the losses can be significant.”


Rescuers are sifting through the damage looking for survivors or bodies (Image: UKRAINIAN STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE / HANDOUT)

Describing the atrocities following the strike, Mr Zelensky labelled the attack “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history.”

He continued: “A peaceful city, an ordinary shopping mall with women inside, children, ordinary civilians inside.”

“Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on earth, can strike missiles at such an object.

“And this is not an off-target missile strike, this is a calculated Russian strike, exactly at this shopping mall.”


President Zelensky called the attack on the mall a “terrorist attack” (Image: Getty)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said from that meeting that the attack showed the “depths of cruelty and barbarism” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the UK’s PA news agency reported.

Mr Johnson said: “This appalling attack has shown once again the depths of cruelty and barbarism to which the Russian leader will sink.”

In a tweet Monday, US President Joe Biden condemned the attack, saying, “Russia’s attack on civilians at a shopping mall is cruel.

“We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“As demonstrated at the G7 Summit, the US along with our allies and partners will continue to hold Russia accountable for such atrocities and support Ukraine’s defence.”

For more stories like this, follow Express.co.uk Defence and Security Correspondent James Lee on Twitter @JamesLee_DE

source: express.co.uk