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Serge AApr 25, 2022 (0)
Russians have been attacking Ukraine with all the military power it has. For now, they gave it everything attacking the Ukrainian land except for nuclear weapons. As a matter of fact, they shot so many rockets at Ukraine that there are reports from a local war expert Oleg Zhdanov, that they are using rockets based on submarines and airplanes just because they ran out of surface to surface missiles as well as missiles that were based on war ships. The way the Russians are attacking Ukraine at this point is by getting planes in the air from Russian territory, getting enough altitude and shooting them towards some Ukrainian city no matter how far away this city is located. The further away these specific rockets are launched, the less accurate they are when they hit targets but we all know by now that the Russian army could care less about that.
The Russian air force takes caution in flying over Ukrainian territory because of the increased losses that the Russian air force had seen during the last four weeks of war. To be fair, it should be stated that the Russians are not running out of planes, they are running out of pilots. During the first stages of war, Russians were careless when flying over Ukrainian territory. They flew low and used primitive formations. Needless to say, they greatly underestimated the Ukrainian artillery capabilities. Russian planes went down one after another. The Ukrainian military went as far as shooting down planes from rocket launchers from land. This is something that is seldom seen in modern warfare, but Ukrainians kept on hitting these targets, including helicopters and even some slower-travelling rockets.
The Russian main air force problem is most definitely a personnel problem because most of their experienced pilots have been shot down. At first the pilots were captured by the Ukrainian military, although what happened after shocked the military as well as civilians. We started watching as flight prep crews deliberately sabotaged pilots' chutes, so that when they catapulted the chute wouldn't open and pilots just splattered all over the ground. The Russians were afraid of having their pilots captured as these were high ranking officers who were in possession of sensitive intelligence as well as documents and maps.
A Russian pilot hit the ground with a sabotaged parachute.
There is that never-ending cry from the Ukrainian government to close the Ukrainian sky - why one might ask if the planes are no longer flying? The fact is that Ukraine no longer needs the west to close its sky from planes - that ship has sailed. Whether Ukraine has already gotten anti-aircraft weapons or made good with their own, it is still to be seen - this information is kept a secret from civilians. What we see is that the only planes in the sky at this point are ours. People know this because when you hear planes and they are not dropping bombs, the planes are ours. So, what then does Ukraine need you might ask? Now, Ukraine needs anti-rocket systems, which are capable of taking down missiles as they head toward our cities. There are many ways to solve the problem of anti-rockets defence. One of them is for sure getting more planes. As unbelievable as it might sound for a civilian, a Russian most advanced rocket dubbed type-X, a winged rocket system, obtains a velocity of under mach one - from 470 to 540 miles per hour. Fighter jets started flying at plus mach one speeds even in the seventies. A plane in the air can catch up to a rocket and shoot it down.
Russian winged rocket X-55.
There is however an obvious weakness to this strategy. A pilot has to first be in the air when the missile is shot, identify the missile as missiles are small and are not easy to spot on the radar at considerable distances and successfully hit the target. A feat not for the faint at heart, which is why we all know pilots to be extraordinary people. But, track back to how many factors need to coincide for a pilot to successfully deter a rocket attack, while keeping it mind that the Russians never release just one rocket. Our record so far was 76 rockets in one day of which just six hit their target, but six is way too much. It was a day that our American readers might remember. That day, president Biden gave his heartwarming speech in Poland. Four of the six rockets that hit their targets exploded just 50 miles or so from his location at the time of his speech. Yes, that is how crazy Putin really is.
When the Ukrainian president asked to close the sky and pleaded with the west to act now, his main concern was civilian deaths due to our technical inability to shoot down these winged devils. What Ukraine really needs is specifically anti-rocket systems, which can prevent civilian casualties. These systems are extremely rare and complex. They have an extremely high clearance level and unfortunately are not available to a nation such as Ukraine, even when the lives of babies are at stake. A three-month-old baby was killed in such a rocket attack that took place in Odessa on April 23. This is what the building looks like post rocket strike on the target. The baby and its mother lived in this building. Now, they are both dead.
Screenshot from Instagram page of the mother, who died with her three-month-old baby in Odessa.
Having a clear grasp with reality, a person might understand the political and security issues that nations do encounter when dealing with one another. Take Ukraine for example - of course this country is not even near a perfect track record with the international community. But, on the other hand, who is that one single country with a perfect track record? We all understand that Ukrainian association with the Soviet Union stained Ukrainian reputation for decades in the eyes of the international community but unbeknown to the regular folks here in Ukraine. Regular folks live regular lives and aspire to do the best that they can and dying in your home from a rocket with your three-month-old baby in your arms is definitely not the best on anyone's behalf. It's hopelessness at best.
Serge A is of Ukrainian descent, grew up in Brooklyn and is volunteering in Ukraine as a legally armed member of a Territorial Defense Group. He was a columnist for the newspaper at Pace University which he attended as an undergrad.
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