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Global Chessboard: Russia’s Drone and Missile Onslaught on Ukraine


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In the waning days of 2023 and into the new year, Russia launched a formidable assault on Ukraine, unveiling strategic vulnerabilities in the Ukrainian air defense system.

This article explores the recent aerial warfare dynamics, revealing a complex interplay of drone and missile strategies, geopolitical implications, and the responses from both sides.


Russian Offensive: Missile Barrage and Drone Onslaught:

Russia’s Ministry of Defence initiated an intense missile and drone campaign targeting purported military infrastructure in Ukraine. However, the indiscriminate nature of the attacks resulted in casualties among civilians, exposing weaknesses in Ukrainian air defenses. The assaults showcased Russia’s industrial prowess and technological advancements, cultivated quietly under the shadow of Western sanctions.


Frontline Dynamics and Reversed Military Map:

Despite the static front line, Russia strategically advanced north and south of Bakhmut, reclaiming territories won by Ukrainian forces during the previous summer’s counteroffensive. The military map shifted in Russia’s favor, revealing a reversal in the initiative to assault Ukrainian positions.


Strategic Ukrainian Resilience: Counteroffensive Success and Minefield Tactics:

While Russian forces made gains, Ukrainian special forces held their ground in Krynky, demonstrating a tactical advantage. Ukrainian troops successfully occupied islands in the Dnipro delta, employing counter-battery fire and frustrating Russian attempts. The audacious “Zhukov manoeuvre” saw Russian commanders resorting to reckless tactics, including ordering troops to traverse Ukrainian minefields in desperation.


The Turning Point: Aerial Assault on Key Cities:

A pivotal moment unfolded on December 29 when Russia launched an unprecedented aerial assault, deploying 156 drones and missiles on Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, and Kharkiv. The Ukrainian Air Force intercepted a significant number but couldn’t prevent substantial casualties. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) deems this event as a culmination of Russia’s experimentation with drone and missile combinations, testing Ukrainian air defenses.


Economic and Strategic Implications: Missile Production and Cost Analysis:

The onslaught revealed months of preparation in scaling up missile production. Despite facing sanctions, Russia showcased an ability to produce approximately 100 missiles monthly. The economic and strategic implications are profound, with estimates putting the cost of the drone and missile barrage at $1.27 billion. The sustainability and economic feasibility of such assaults raise questions about Russia’s long-term strategy.


International Response and Military Aid:

Ukraine’s allies called for increased air defense support. The United Kingdom pledged 200 air-launched air defense missiles, emphasizing the need to counter Russian testing of Ukraine’s defenses and Western resolve. The international community closely watches the conflict, acknowledging the pivotal role of air defense systems in shaping the trajectory of the war.



As the aerial chessboard unfolds, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine enters a critical phase. The relentless drone and missile onslaught underscores the evolving nature of modern warfare, testing the resilience of nations and the effectiveness of defense mechanisms. The strategic responses and counteroffensives will shape the geopolitical landscape, underscoring the urgency for robust international collaboration in the face of evolving threats.

Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas is an accomplished journalist with extensive experience in the field. He has held prominent positions such as Editor at Daily Times and Daily Duniya. Currently, he serves as the Chief Editor (National) at The Think Tank Journal

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