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British intelligence explaines why Russia launches reconnaissance balloons over Ukraine

Sunday, 19 February 2023, 09:52

The objects that have been seen in the airspace of Ukraine, as well as Moldova, over the past week are most likely part of Russia's new tactic to deplete Ukrainian air defence systems.

Source: UK Defence Intelligence; European Pravda 

They recall that on 12 February, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported about balloons in the east of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, and in three days at least six balloons carrying radar reflectors were shot down over Kyiv.


"It is likely that the balloons were Russian. They likely represent a new tactic by Russia to gain information about Ukrainian air defence systems and compel the Ukrainians to expend valuable stocks of surface to air missiles and ammunition," the British Intelligence reported.

The report also mentions that on 14 February, sighting of a "balloon shaped" object led to the closure of Moldova’s airspace for several hours. Later, it became known that the reason for the temporary closure of Moldova’s airspace was an unknown aircraft that looked like a weather balloon.

"There is a realistic possibility that this was a Russian balloon that had drifted from Ukrainian airspace," analysts at the British Defence Ministry said.


Background: On 14 February, an unidentified object similar to a weather balloon was spotted in Romanian airspace. Two fighter jets were sent to search for it, but the aircraft crews did not confirm the presence of an air target.

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