A state-of-the-art air defense system in southern Ukraine was discovered by a Russian drone and shortly afterwards destroyed by a Lancet kamikaze drone. However, upon closer inspection, it turns out that the supposedly valuable Iris-T SLM system donated by Germany, which according to Dagens.se is worth 140 million euros, was merely an object of deception.
Ukraine is increasingly relying on “Maskirovka,” a Soviet tactic that includes disinformation and deception, in its defense strategy. Dagens.se reports that the Ukrainian army is using dummy targets, including dummy American rocket launchers, artillery howitzers and tanks, to deceive Russian forces and trick them into wasting their valuable resources on false targets.
Cheap decoys on the front lines
These dummies, made from materials such as wood, cardboard and scrap metal, are convincing enough to look like real military equipment from the air. According to Dagens.se, Metinvest, a Ukrainian company, is the main producer of these deceptive objects. Originally used to fill Western allies’ weapons shortages, these are now helping to deplete Russia’s ammunition reserves.
The cost of producing these decoys is a fraction of what real military equipment would cost. Dagens.se states that the cost of such a decoy is just over 900 euros. Although Ukraine would prefer to maintain the deception, the frequency with which these dummies are mentioned in the media makes this difficult. Nevertheless, Ukraine sees this strategy as a success.
A Ukrainian source was quoted as saying the Russians were content to have destroyed equipment that in reality remained intact. In this strategic cat-and-mouse game, Ukraine appears to have the final say by using Russia’s own tactics against it.