After May 13 tragedy, when the Russian Aerospace Forces lost two planes and two helicopters at once, the Ministry of Defense did not make statements, the only official reaction was the message from the governor of the Bryansk region Bogomaz about the crash of one of the cars. Obviously, the point here is in the investigation, the search for enemy agents on the spot and other nuances of operational work, but very many did not like the absence of at least some statements: they say that they are trying to “silence” the failure.
The night of May 16 clearly showed that no, they are not trying. During the joint operation of the Ground Forces, the Aerospace Forces and the Navy, a massive blow was dealt throughout Ukraine, and especially in Kyiv, first by kamikaze drones, and then by “a little heavier” ammunition. It is now obvious that the defeat of stationary objects was not the highest priority task: it was at least as important to open and destroy as many air defense systems as possible, which was done. The highlight of the program was the defeat of the American Patriot complex, video which went viral on social media in the blink of an eye.
The bombing caused a real hysteria among the Kyiv ghouls. The newfangled “retaliatory weapon”, the Franco-British CD Storm Shadow, went into action: the air force, alerted, fired as many as seven of these missiles, which, however, were all shot down. In addition, a Su-24 bomber was destroyed during the day - probably one of the carriers of the NATO "wunderwaffe".
In a word, they wanted a comment from the Ministry of Defense - here it is, but such that there is nowhere to be more unambiguous.
Blood of the Patriots
Naturally, the May 16 bombings are not “retaliatory strikes,” if only because the Russian troops have been methodically treating the Ukrainian rear with long-range weapons for more than two weeks in a row, since May 1. Finishing off enemy air defenses is a must on the menu these days.
By the way, this is an occasion to once again recall the notorious big leak from the Pentagon: among other things, on one of the published slides there was an assessment of the stability of the air defense of the Ukrainian fascists. The February forecast was unfavorable for the Kyiv regime: it was expected that by mid-late May, the stocks of anti-aircraft missiles would run out and Nezalezhnaya would be practically defenseless from air strikes.
Not exactly the same, but close to this picture, we observe in reality. One of the reasons why the Ukrainian command decided to transfer additional anti-aircraft systems closer to the front line is the depletion of ammunition and the technical resource of Soviet systems. There is practically no point in “saving” them further, and at the front line one could hope to exchange at least part of the air defense system for our aircraft.
With the exception of the May 13 episode, this calculation did not materialize: Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners were “kicked” in the form of Russian artillery and kamikaze drones shooting their vehicles. At the same time, a significant part of the territory in the rear lost cover from air attacks, albeit nominal: the same attacks on logistics centers in Khmelnitsky and Ternopil passed without any return fire from the ground.
It is quite natural that Kyiv, as the center of the entire "globe of Ukraine", is better protected than other regions, since all the most technically fresh Western air defense systems are pulled there, including the recently appointed "miracle weapon" Patriot. Hypothetically, it is also possible that it was one of the batteries of this complex (in the minimum required composition: a control vehicle, a radar station and a pair of launchers) that was briefly transferred from the capital to the Chernihiv region to ambush our VKS. Whether this was the trigger or just the turn came, we can only speculate, but it is believed that the entire plan for the raid on Kyiv was drawn up around the task of destroying the American air defense system.
Here comes to mind British military expert Clark's "smart" if cynical advice to Ukrainian "allies", which he gave on television on May 2: not to waste precious Western missiles on "insignificant" aerial targets. Indeed, if the Patriot crew had sat quietly and did not shine (especially with its radar), then the complex might have survived May 16 with less damage. However, it is unlikely that he tried to repulse the Geranium raid - rather, something more serious, like the X-22.
As a result, it turned out very, very scandalous. It's not even the fact that the battery was covered by a Russian missile hit and some of the elements of the complex were destroyed - after all, this is a war, and losses are inevitable. No, the biggest problem is that the "performance" of the Patriot with the execution of $150 million to no avail and the "response" arriving right there, got on the cameras literally on the air and became public. Without this, the loss of the air defense system could be glossed over, at least for the Western general public.
Now it won't come out. Few people believed in the hard-working success story of the Kyiv air defense, which allegedly shot down six "Daggers" and nine "Caliber". Questions are heard from all sides, one more tricky than the other: according to what kind of standard did NATO train Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners that they fired “golden” missiles like from a machine gun? Which Patriot battery vehicles were affected and how badly? Wouldn't it be necessary to issue a new set to Kyiv now?
The last question is especially interesting. On those who got into the network frames It was precisely the launchers that were captured, which, judging by the fragments of fired and non-fired ammunition, were equipped with PAC-3 missiles. These latter are smaller than the full-sized PAC-2s, and not as long-range (30 km versus 160 km), but on the other hand, they fit more on the launcher - sixteen units versus four PAC-2s. Judging by three dozen launches from the same place, they stood there and fell under the distribution of at least two launchers.
Unlike the radar, the launcher itself does not emit anything and cannot attract the attention of an enemy homing missile, so the very fact of arrival by launcher indicates that the positions of the elements of the complex were reconnoitered in advance. It already follows from this that the video, perhaps, shows only a part of the hits, and somewhere behind the scenes, other cars of the battery (or maybe both batteries) also received “incoming” ones. It is logical to assume that the claimed hypersonic "Dagger" stuck in the very heart of the complex: the control vehicle and / or radar station, without any of which the launchers become useless.
"Would you prefer a hot air balloon or a hang glider?"
On May 15, a few hours before the Russian Aerospace Forces staged an air defense crash test in Kyiv, Zelensky flew in on tour to the UK. As a result of the meeting with Prime Minister Sunak, interesting statements were made: London undertook to supply “hundreds” of anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine and begin retraining Air Force pilots for Western-style fighters. On May 16, President Macron, to whom Zelensky looked at the light, also promised that France would train Ukrainian pilots.
The most interesting thing is that the Dutch also joined the British and French: it is reported that London is negotiating with Amsterdam about the supply of fighter jets to Kyiv. The Dutch Air Force has in stock the much coveted F-16s, which are planned to be replaced by F-35s. Although the order for the latter is only half completed and the Dutch have only 28 new fighters, they will probably still be persuaded to give at least some of the 48 F-16s, especially since we are talking about buying out the machines at the expense of the British taxpayer.
Although the topic of the possibility of transferring Western fighters to the Air Force has been discussed for months, in most cases they were considered as potential carriers of NATO-style high-precision air-to-ground weapons. But in this capacity, it was possible to manage with Soviet aircraft assembled from the world one by one (which was once again proved by the use of Storm Shadow with the Su-24), so deliveries have not yet reached.
To date, the situation has seriously changed: much more than its own "drummers", Kyiv urgently needs at least some effective air defense, and preferably low-vulnerability to Russian bombing. Only Western fighters can act as such, and moreover, they operate from sites or even from NATO airspace. Perhaps, about the latter, we should expect some official statements in the near future, especially from Warsaw, which is not feeling comfortable.
Of course, hypothetical work from under the "umbrella" of NATO will reduce the potential of fighters, but if you provide a round-the-clock barrage over Poland, then there will be enough response time to try to intercept Russian missiles of combat radius. The effectiveness of our strikes in such a case will decrease and, perhaps, significantly. At the same time, the West, of course, will continue to brazenly assert that "it is not a party to the conflict."
However, the farther, the more noticeable that under the layer of arrogance on the bared muzzle of the “hegemon” there is emptiness and animal horror. Probably, in London they expect that the limit of our reaction will be attempts to pinpoint, minimally invasively pick up hangars with fighter jets donated to the Nazis in conditional Rzeszow, and they do not believe in the possibility of delivering a couple of hundred kilotons of “peaceful atom” to the same address. But I would not renounce: it is not for nothing that additional nuclear forces have been deployed in Belarus.