Russia is “probably” trying to build up “a significant stockpile” of air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) for use in strikes this winter on Ukraine, according to the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD).
In an intelligence update on Saturday, the Defense Ministry wrote that the targets of these winter attacks could be Ukrainian infrastructure.
Before the Defense Ministry’s assessment, reports indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s armed forces had spent a large amount on missiles while struggling to produce more weapons.
The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, said in an analysis of the war on Wednesday that Ukrainian and Russian sources said Russia’s defense industrial base was facing ” growing challenges” in replacing core supplies, in addition to “known challenges in replenishing its precision weapons stockpiles.
The British Ministry of Defense wrote that open source information indicates that the Russian military has launched fewer ALCMs since April, “while Russian leaders have emphasized their efforts to increase the rate of cruise missile production “.
Before reducing the use of ALCMs, Russia conducted long-range missile strikes on Ukraine’s national energy infrastructure between October 2022 and March 2023, according to the Defense Ministry.
“Air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs), particularly the modern AS-23a KODIAK, were central to most of these strike missions,” the Defense Department wrote. “Russia uses strategic bombers to drop these munitions from deep within Russian territory.”
The Defense Ministry added that “Russia is therefore likely able to generate a significant stockpile of ALCM.”
“There is a realistic possibility that Russia will again concentrate its weapons against Ukrainian infrastructural targets over the winter,” the British ministry said.
News week contacted the Russian Defense Ministry by email for comment.
Despite the Defense Ministry’s report that Russia retains its missile stockpile, Moscow continues to hit Ukraine with large-scale missile attacks. One of these attacks in Kostyantynivka, in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, was the deadliest strike against a Ukrainian civilian target since January.
Ukrainian officials said at least 17 people were killed, including a child, and 32 others were injured during the assault on Kostyantynivka when a Russian missile hit a market.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported on Thursday that Russia has lost a total of 1,455 cruise missiles since Putin launched the war against Ukraine in February 2022. News week has not been able to independently verify kyiv’s count, and the Kremlin does not make its estimates of equipment losses public.