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Rifles Now Intercept Storm Shadow and HIMARS Missiles, or so Defense Ministry of russia Says

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Open source illustrative photo
Open source illustrative photo

While russians practice at shooting down cruise missiles with small arms, Ukraine keeps utilizing breached air defenses in Crimea

After a confirmed successful Storm Shadow strike on a backup command post of the russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, the Ministry of Defense of the russian federation was quick to report all Ukrainian missiles shot down. Apparently, seeing that the official information about "burning grass" was not enough to explain the thick smoke rising from military bases, the ministry's press service decided to add some detail.

According to Moscow's statement, GMLRS missiles launched by HIMARS, Smerch rockets and Storm Shadow cruise missiles can be taken down by rifles. At least they tried to use them alongside conventional air defense systems and electronic warfare equipment when they "intercepted" four cruise missiles and five guided rockets.

Read more: ​Storm Shadow Missile Successfully Hits the Backup Command Post of the russian Black Sea Fleet in Verkhnyosadove
Screenshot of a fragment of official russian daily report on the war in Ukraine
Screenshot of a fragment of an official russian daily report on the war in Ukraine

The russian defense ministry did not specify what kind of small arms they used, be it pistols, rifles, or big caliber machine guns. Considering the already established tradition of honoring heroes of the so-called "special military operation" we may soon find out from an article by russian media about a soldier who managed to shoot a Storm Shadow missile with his AK-74.

In the meantime, the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to exploit the breach in Crimean air defenses that emerged after several S-400 anti-aircraft systems and valuable surveillance equipment were destroyed.

The gap has already resulted in successful strikes on russian military assets on the occupied peninsula. The mentioned command post struck, and for the first time in history a submarine became a victim of an air-to-surface missile.

Damage to the Rostov-Na-Donu improved Kilo-class submarine (Project 636.3) after an attack on the temporarily occupied Sevastopol, September 18, 2023
Damage to the Rostov-Na-Donu improved Kilo-class submarine (Project 636.3) after an attack on the temporarily occupied Sevastopol, September 18, 2023 / Open source photo

The prospects of russians restoring the integrity of air defense in the region are not looking promising. First, Ukraine forced russians to pull additional air defense systems to Moscow with methodical strikes on the capital. They even withdrew the launchers from the frontline just to put them around the deep rear city.

Alternatively, Ukraine still has the option of shifting the focus toward using explosive drones against convenient and easily destroyed targets such as oil depots and refineries. For instance, they frequently became targets for Ukrainian strikes in late April – May 2023.

In eight days, drones attacked the largest Crimean oil terminal, then the biggest oil and gas transfer terminal in the whole Black Sea region in Taman, and finally the Ilsky oil refinery.

Today, on September 21st, Ukrainian forces launched a drone attack on an oil depot in Sochi, russia. This might have been a marker of this shift of focus.

Read more: When the USA Provides ATACMS to Ukraine, the Neptune Missile System Will Be Quite Suitable for Strikes on the Crimean Bridge