Ukraine has warned about the newly modified Russian FAB-500 aerial bombs that pose a grave threat to the country’s air defense systems.
This warning comes as Ukraine plans to launch a fresh counter-offensive to recapture key territories in the upcoming months. In recent weeks, Ukrainian military leaders have hinted at possibly launching a new counter-attack on Russian forces.
But there is limited information regarding specific targets and details of the operation. Ukraine military officials have now warned that Russian forces are using upgraded FAB-500 aerial bombs against areas close to the front lines.
In a recent broadcast, the Air Force spokesperson for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Yuriy Ihnat, said that the Russian military has begun turning FAB-500 high-explosive aerial bombs into cruise missiles.
As per a report from Ukrainska Pravda, a Ukrainian online newspaper, the Russian military is utilizing these bombs from a range beyond the reach of Ukrainian air defense systems.
According to the news source, Ihnat added that Ukraine believes Russia may be getting ready to increase the production of these weapons, which will incorporate wings and GPS navigation.
The commander of the Ukrainian military’s air force, Mykola Oleshchuk, issued a similar warning on using these bombs.
Oleshchuk warned in a Telegram post that Russia is increasingly employing 500-kilogram guided air bombs along the entire front line.
Furthermore, it was reported that Sergei Shoigu, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, was recently inspecting the facility where a manufacturing line was established to produce these types of bombs.
Russian planes avoid entering the Ukrainian air defense systems range and carry out remote strikes on the front line and nearby cities. According to Oleshchuk, utilizing F-16 fighter jets would enhance Ukraine’s capability to counter these bombs effectively.
Ukraine has asked its Western partners, particularly the United States, to give it modern fighter jets to strengthen its defenses. The war-torn country has particularly requested F-16 “Fighting Falcon” fighter jets. Nevertheless, the Biden government has refused to provide them to Kyiv.
Equipped with air-to-air missiles that can cover distances of up to 180 kilometers, the F-16 can deter hostile aircraft from approaching Ukrainian borders and the front line, thereby reducing the probability of deploying guided aerial bombs and other air-based weapons, Oleshchuk noted.
Moscow To Deploy ‘Tank Hunters’
A senior Russian defense official stated in an interview published on April 10 that Russia is assembling tank-killer groups to counter NATO MBTs that Kyiv has received from its Western allies.
In an interview with Russian media, Evgeny Arifulin, the director of a military training center located in central Russia near Nizhny Novgorod, stated that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister, had given the directive to establish the units.
Arifulin said that the Russian military has developed “instructional guidelines” to accomplish this objective, which is currently being executed at the training facility.
Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted that Ukraine could get around 400 tanks produced in the West in late March. The German Ministry of Defense announced last month that 18 Leopard 2 A6 tanks and ammo and spare components had arrived at their destination.
The Russian military is creating specialized groups whose primary responsibility is eliminating Western-made tanks. According to the Russian military official, the latest step is a comprehensive and organized effort being implemented at the national level.
In addition to training the ‘tank hunters,’ the facility also provides training in various other fields, such as artillery firing and operation of missile systems, Arifulin remarked. The facility can train up to 700 soldiers simultaneously, the official noted.
Arifulin highlighted that the Russian military’s attention is primarily directed toward countering Western armored vehicles.
He also mentioned that the military has thoroughly studied all types of tanks, including the American M1 Abrams, German Leopards, British Challengers, and French Leclercs.
“Tank hunter” group members are being coached by seasoned instructors who have participated in numerous battles in recent years, including the ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
It was also noted that these groups only consist of a few soldiers, most of whom are equipped with anti-tank guided missile launchers and mostly use reconnaissance drones.
The Kremlin has repeatedly warned Western countries that providing weapons to Kyiv makes them a direct participant in the ongoing conflict.
Regarding the supply of tanks to Ukraine, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin Press Secretary, remarked that these tanks would suffer the same fate as the rest of Ukraine’s military equipment and wouldn’t have any impact on the outcome of the fighting.