Russia’s Ministry of Defense has boasted that it will never run out of Kalibr cruise missiles after Moscow launched another significant bombardment of Ukrainian cities.
The ministry posted a graphic on its official Telegram channel showing a cruise missile being fired from an unidentified ship, with text stating: “Kalibr [cruise missiles] will never run out.”
The Kalibr cruise missiles, first introduced in 1994, are one of Russia’s primary long-range weapons. They have been used against Ukrainian military and infrastructure targets throughout Russia’s invasion since February.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak initially said Russia had fired more than 120 missiles at Ukrainian targets on Thursday, a figure that would have made the attacks one of the largest since the invasion began.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense later said air defenses destroyed 54 of 69 cruise missiles fired on Thursday morning. In Kyiv, officials said all 16 missiles were shot down, but that debris damaged three houses and injured three people.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said most of the western city was left “without light” or running trams. Odesa Governor Maksym Marchenko said the strikes necessitated emergency power outages, while Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 40 percent of the city’s population had been left without power.
Lviv Deputy Mayor Serhiy Kiral told Newsweek that the power cuts in his city were a preventative measure to avoid major damage in the event of further strikes. Three or four missiles were destroyed before they reached Lviv, Kiral said, adding there were no reported casualties in the city.
“Part of the city is still without power, water is supplied on lowered pressure to ground and first floors of multi-storeyed buildings,” Kiral said, noting the “noise of diesel generators all around the city center—people have adapted.” City authorities are offering to cover 50 percent of generator costs for businesses and groups of apartment owners, Kiral noted.
Russia has continued its infrastructure offensive against Ukraine despite condemnation from Kyiv’s foreign partners. The bombardments have prompted Ukraine’s Western allies to expand donations of generators, equipment to repair the damaged energy grid, and air defense systems to better protect against Russian cruise missiles and drones.
Among them is the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system, which is the most expensive single weapons platform sent to Ukraine by foreign partners since February. Ukrainian troops are currently undergoing training on one Patriot battery—a process expected to take several months.
Some Western and Ukrainian officials have suggested that Russia’s cruise missile stocks are running low, given the reliance of Moscow’s most advanced weapons on imported Western technology. Years of sanctions—intensified since February—may mean that Russia is able to produce fewer, and lower-quality, weapons.
According to the British think tank Royal United Services Institute, a study of Russian weapons recovered earlier this year found that Kalibr missiles rely on several Western-designed components, which were still being exported to Russia in 2018 and 2019.
But for all the pressures on Russian stocks, Moscow is continuing to fire large waves of missiles at targets across Ukraine.
General Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy intelligence chief, told The New York Times earlier this month: “According to our calculations, they have missiles for another three to five waves of attacks…if there are 80 to 90 rockets in one wave.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in early November that Russia had used up 63 percent of its pre-war stock of 500 Kalibrs. Between February and November, Reznikov said Russia was able to produce 120 new Kalibr missiles.
According to his figures, Russia is also running relatively low on Iskander ballistic missiles having used 87 percent of its 900 pre-war missiles; and its Kh-22/32 anti-ship missiles, of which around 32 percent remain of the pre-war stock of 370.
However, Russia still has thousands of missiles it can use to continue attacks if Reznikov’s figures are accurate. These include almost 7,000 S-300 surface-to-air missiles which double as ground attack weapons, hundreds of anti-ship missiles, and dozens of nuclear-capable hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.
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