16 May 2024

Russia’s Bombardment of Ukraine Is More Lethal Than Ever

Alistair MacDonald, Jemal R. Brinson, Emma Brown and Ievgeniia Sivorka

Ukraine is shooting down a far smaller proportion of Russian missile attacks than it was earlier in the war.

The worsening performance of Ukraine’s air defenses comes as Russia increases drone and missile attacks, and fires more harder-to-hit weapons, such as ballistic missiles. Kyiv is also running low on ammunition for the Western-supplied Patriot systems that have been its best defense against such attacks.

In the past six months, Ukraine intercepted around 46% of Russian missiles, compared with 73% in the preceding six-month period, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of daily data from the Ukrainian Air Force Command. Last month, the interception rate fell to 30% of missiles. The interception rate for long-range Shahed drones, which are easier to shoot down, fell 1 percentage point to 82% in the past six months.

While the attack and interception data for several days was incomplete, and Ukraine uses such statistics for propaganda purposes, a UAF spokesman and an independent defense analyst said the data gave an overall accurate picture.

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