Ukraine claims Russia is using balloons to distract its air defenses

Ukraine has accused Russia of turning to balloon power in support of its invasion of the country, albeit with significantly different goals from China’s intelligence operations.

According to Kiev, Moscow has allegedly started launching airborne objects to trick Ukraine’s air defenses into firing surface-to-air missiles and depleting valuable supplies. On Tuesday, suspected balloons flying over Ukraine were spotted in Romanian and Moldovan airspace, prompting Bucharest to launch jets.

Such flying objects with radar reflectors have been spotted twice over Ukrainian skies since the US shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon earlier this month. These “fake targets” were fired by Russia, said Colonel Yuriy Ignat, spokesman for Ukraine’s Air Force Command.

Kiev suspects the balloons are Russia’s latest tactic in a missile and kamikaze drone strike campaign that has intensified in recent weeks. “They will take advantage of that if the weather cooperates. The weather threw a spanner in the works today,” said Ignat.

Ukraine’s arsenal of Soviet air defense systems has prevented Moscow’s fleet of fighter and bomber aircraft from establishing air superiority since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion last year.

But its stockpiles of air-defense missiles have been exhausted, according to Western officials. While US and European allies have begun sending NATO-standard surface-to-air missile systems, more will be needed in the coming months.

Ukraine did not say whether it fired anti-aircraft missiles at the balloons on Tuesday. Russia has not confirmed the launch of the objects.

A second Ukrainian official said he believed the balloons that had drifted into the airspace of neighboring Moldova and Romania were Russian, although neither country has publicly speculated about their origin.

Moldova’s civil aviation authority said it closed its airspace for more than an hour on Tuesday afternoon after “receiving information that an unidentified small object resembling a weather balloon had been spotted.”

Romania’s Defense Ministry said it muddled two fighter jets after its ground-penetrating radars tracked an unidentified object with weather balloon characteristics. But the pilots were unable to find the balloon in the sky or detect it on their onboard radars. The jets returned to base after half an hour, the ministry said.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, warned this week that both China and Russia would step up their intelligence and surveillance activities, including through balloons.

“This underscores the importance of our vigilance, our increased presence and also that we see how we share information and monitor and protect our airspace,” he said. Ukraine claims Russia is using balloons to distract its air defenses

Adam Bradshaw

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button