The news comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army becomes ever more depleted following heavy losses since the so-called “special operation” in Ukraine. With Russia now pushing to secure parts of eastern Ukraine, as well as strategic ports in the south, the use of such weapons, designed to sink aircraft carriers, shows Moscow is pushing harder than ever to push back Ukrainian resistance.
The five-and-a-half-tonne Kh-22 missiles have been described as “antiquated” having been developed in the 1960s.
However, their use does not come without controversy as the missiles are highly inaccurate and cause severe “collateral damage and casualties”, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The MoD also stated the use of such weapons demonstrates Russia is running low on more modern rockets.
The MoD has not stated where exactly such missiles have been deployed but suggests the projectiles have a range of around 600 miles (1,000km).
The Ministry said: “They were primarily designed to destroy aircraft carriers using a nuclear warhead.
“When employed in a ground attack role with a conventional warhead they are highly inaccurate and can therefore cause significant collateral damage and civilian casualties.
“’Russia is likely resorting to such inefficient weapon systems because it is running short of more precise modern missiles, while Ukrainian air defences still deter its tactical aircraft from conducting strikes across much of the country.”
Russia decommissioned over 400 Cold War-era missiles prior to 2006 as part of a disarmament treaty.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has yet to confirm the use of such missiles against them.
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The MoD has suggested the bulk of the battle for Ukraine continues in the eastern city of Sieverodonetsk.
The latest intelligence report suggests: “Over the coming months, river crossing operations are likely to be amongst the most important determining factors in the course of the war.”
It continues: “The key, 70-mile-long central sector of Russia’s frontline in the Donbas lies to the west of the Siverskyy Donets River.
“To achieve success in the current operational phase of its Donbas offensive, Russia is either going to have to complete ambitious flanking actions or conduct assault river crossings.”
The report suggests Ukrainian forces have managed to destroy multiple bridges across the river hence disrupting Russian advances in the area.
The southern ports of Ukraine have become a hot point in the war as global grain supplies are being affected by Russian blockades.
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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has estimated over 20 million tonnes of grain are now blocked in Ukrainian ports.
The matter was discussed recently discussed in a United Nations Security Council meeting in which Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenziya walked out of the meeting following allegations of weaponising food supplies by EU Council President, Charles Michel.
Speaking of the current situation, Mr Blinken said: “President Putin is stopping food from being shipped and aggressively using his propaganda machine to deflect or distort responsibility because he hopes it’ll get the world to give in to him and end the sanctions.
“In other words, quite simply put, it’s blackmail.
“The Kremlin needs to realise that it is exporting starvation and suffering well beyond Ukrainian quarters, with countries in Africa that are experiencing an outsized share of the pain.”
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In order to defend itself, Ukraine is expecting a delivery of long-range rockets to deter Russian advances.
A report published on Friday by the Institute of War Studies said that the use of artillery and long-range weapons could prove the path to victory in Ukraine’s east.
“As Ukrainian forces use the last of their stocks of Soviet-era weapon systems and munitions, they will require consistent Western support to transition to new supply chains of ammunition and key artillery systems.
“Effective artillery will be increasingly decisive in the largely static fighting in eastern Ukraine.”