Russian Tu-22M bombers have likely been launching 1960s-era heavy, anti-ship missiles meant to destroy aircraft carriers with nuclear warheads against land targets in Ukraine, a British military intelligence report said Saturday.
It said the 5.5-ton Kh-22 missiles, when used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, are highly inaccurate and can cause severe collateral damage and casualties.
Russia is likely using such weapons because it is running short of more precise modern missiles, Britain’s Defense Ministry said in a daily update.
Russian defense ministry has decided to bring back the Tu-22M bomber to RuAF services to use medium-range missiles Kh-22 missiles, according to Izvestiya. For many years they remained the main fire bombers Tu-22M3, but in the early 2000s were decommissioned. The Tu-22M modernization was postponed due to funding shortage. According to the Russian defense ministry, Tu-22M will be re-commissioned into the services by the machine-building design bureau “Raduga”. The total cost will be about 300 million rubles.
Russian forces have been concentrating their efforts on capturing all of Ukraine’s eastern region of coal mines and factories known as the Donbas. The area borders Russia and has been partly controlled by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
Civilians have been fleeing intense fighting in eastern Ukraine as Russian and Ukrainian forces engage in a grinding battle of attrition for key cities in the country’s industrial heartland.
The report said Ukrainian air defences were still deterring Russian tactical aircraft from carrying out strikes across much of the country.
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