Russia’s surprising inability to reach even basic objectives over a month after its invasion of Ukraine is partly due to failure rates as high as 60% for its high-tech precision-guided missiles. This comes from U.S. intelligence officials leaking a classified assessment Thursday on the efficiency, or lack thereof, of Moscow’s war machine — so, keep the source in mind.
Despite overwhelming superiority in both numbers and weaponry, Russia has not been able to neutralize Ukraine’s air force and convert their advantages into anything resembling a victory over its much smaller neighbor.
Reuters reports the Kremlin has fired over 1,100 missiles since the Feb. 24 invasion, and over half have either failed to launch or explode on impact. These are precision-guided missiles, including air-launched cruise missiles, that were supposed to be a decided advantage for Russian forces.
Air-launched cruise missiles were used in the deadly attack on March 13 that hit a military training center in western Ukraine close to the Polish border, killing 35.
Officials did not speculate as to why the missiles fail so regularly, but experts say any failure rate above 20% is considered high. Social media platforms are loaded with images of missiles and bombs embedded in Ukraine’s buildings and roads that are unexploded.
Adding insult to injury last week was Ukrainian forces capturing 24 Russian missiles near the city of Hostomel and firing them back at Russian troops. A Ukrainian strategy developed since the invasion is to repurpose equipment abandoned or captured from the invading army, or even repairing weaponry damaged in the fighting.
At an undisclosed location in Kyiv, a team works every day to repair and repaint Russian armaments before transferring them to Ukrainian forces. Team members say much of the equipment dates back to the old Soviet Union and is in reliable working condition.
At least a quarter of the country’s 44 million residents have been displaced, and that number, as well as the thousands killed, would undoubtedly be much higher if Russian weaponry worked as the Kremlin expected.