Sensitive hit against Putin? Military experts see it very differently

According to the Ukrainian military intelligence service, it has destroyed a Russian S-400 “Triumph” anti-aircraft system in Crimea. The authority said: “As a result of the explosion, the plant, the associated missiles and the operating personnel were completely destroyed.”

The S-400 Triumph is repeatedly referred to in media circles as “NATO’s nightmare”. The system is an all-weather ground-to-air system for combating cruise missiles at all altitudes. In addition to ballistic medium and long-range missiles, the air defense should also be able to intercept drones and even fighter jets. Fabian Hoffmann from the University of Oslo analyses: “For a long time, the S-400 was one of the few Russian weapon systems that had not yet completely lost its credibility.”

“Nato’s nightmare” eliminated in Crimea – a “significant hit”?

Accordingly, the first reactions in the social media are different. Nico Lange, political advisor to the federal government and senior fellow for the “Zeitenwende” initiative of the Munich Security Conference, speaks on “X” (Twitter) of a “significant hit”. So a heavy blow for Putin and his troops?

No, says Swiss political scientist and geostrategist Albert A. Stahel. He sees the hit by the Ukrainian secret service as insignificant. When asked by FOCUS online, he explained: “An anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense position is a static system. Such a weapon system, regardless of its range, can be defeated by any standoff weapon that has the necessary range.”

For example, the “Storm Shadow” missiles supplied by Great Britain with a range of up to 560 kilometers are quite capable of knocking out the target. Stahel only sees one aspect of strategic warfare in the destroyed system. He analyses: “This war has already reached the dimension of strategic bombing with the use of Ukrainian drones against Moscow and the bombing of Ukrainian cities by Russian stand-off missiles.” the US Army Air Force were targeted.

Swiss military expert: no fundamentally new situation by eliminating the S-400 Triumph

Stahel concludes: “Nothing new in the west or east.” In other words: the hit by the S-400 Triumph has not changed much in the actual situation in eastern Ukraine. Nonetheless, disabling the anti-aircraft defense system could deal a severe psychological blow to Putin’s troops. Fabian Hoffmann from the University of Oslo comments: “However, in recent months, the capabilities of the S-400 have repeatedly been called into question. This process will only accelerate now.”

The Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea is also of central strategic importance in the Ukraine war. The Russian army mainly obtains material supplies and provisions via the land bridge. If the troops stationed there were cut off from the mainland, this would pose a significant problem for Putin. Kiev has repeatedly emphasized that recapturing the peninsula annexed in 2014 is one of the central war goals in the Ukraine conflict.

Jean Harris

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