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US concerned about drone strike on Russia’s over-the-horizon radar as it could disrupt strategic stability – WP

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US concerned about drone strike on Russia’s over-the-horizon radar as it could disrupt strategic stability – WP

The US has been concerned about Ukraine’s strikes on Russian nuclear early-warning systems as it could „dangerously unsettle“ Moscow at a time when the White House is considering lifting restrictions on the use of US-supplied weapons in cross-border attacks.

Source: The Washington Post

Details: A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that „the United States is concerned about Ukraine’s recent strikes against Russian ballistic missile early-warning sites“.

Quote: „Washington has conveyed its concerns to Kyiv about two attempted attacks over the last week against radar stations that provide conventional air defence as well as warning of nuclear launches by the West. At least one strike in Armavir, in Russia’s southeastern Krasnodar region, appeared to have caused some damage.“ 

„These sites have not been involved in supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine,“ a US official said. „But they are sensitive locations because Russia could perceive that its strategic deterrent capabilities are being targeted, which could undermine Russia’s ability to maintain nuclear deterrence against the United States.“

More details: A Ukrainian official familiar with the matter stated that Russia had been using radar stations to monitor the activity of the Ukrainian military, including Kyiv’s use of aerial weaponry such as drones and missiles. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Defence Intelligence of Ukraine was responsible for the strikes.

A Ukrainian official told WP that the strikes aimed to weaken Russia’s ability to track Ukrainian military activity in Ukraine’s south. A drone targeting a radar station near Orsk in Russia’s Orenburg Oblast along the northern border of Kazakhstan flew over 1,100 miles, making it one of the deepest attempts to strike Russian territory. The Ukrainian official declined to inform WP whether the strike occurred on 26 May had caused any damage.

The Washington Post noted that the US officials expressed sympathy for Ukraine. The administration representatives are actively considering whether to lift restrictions on the use of US-supplied weapons to strike Russian territory. However, a US official pointed out that if the Russian early warning system is affected by Ukrainian attacks, even partially, it could harm strategic stability in US-Russia relations.

„Russia could think it has a diminished ability to detect early nuclear activity against it, which then could become an issue,“ the official mentioned. „It should be obvious to everyone that there’s no intention whatsoever [by the United States] of using nuclear weapons against Russia. But there’s certainly concern about how Russia could perceive its deterrent capabilities being targeted and early-warning systems being attacked.“

The Washington Post emphasised that some analysts were reportedly puzzled by the choice of targets: while Krasnodar is close enough to Ukraine to track missiles and drones, the radar station near Orsk is focused on the Middle East and China.

Responding to questions about why they chose such a remote target for the attack, a Ukrainian government official stated that Russia „switched all of its capabilities for war against Ukraine“.

Background: A drone belonging to Defence Intelligence of Ukraine attacked the Voronezh M long-range target detection radar station located in the city of Orsk in Russia’s Orenburg Oblast on 26 May.

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