Russian bombers may have been launching heavy anti-ship missiles from the 1960s, intended to destroy aircraft carriers with nuclear warheads, at ground targets in Ukraine, a British military intelligence report said Saturday.
When used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, the 5.5-tonne Kh-22 missiles are highly inaccurate and can cause serious collateral damage and casualties, the report said.
Russia is likely using such weapons because it is running out of modern, more accurate projectiles, Britain’s Defense Ministry said in its war diary. It did not detail where it is believed they would have been deployed.
Russian forces have concentrated their efforts on capturing the eastern part of the country, Donbas, where there are coal mines and factories. The region shares a border with Russia and since 2014 was partially controlled by Moscow-backed separatists.
Civilians have been fleeing heavy fighting as Russian and Ukrainian forces wage a battle of attrition for key cities in the nation’s industrial heartland.
According to the British report, Ukrainian air defenses continue to prevent Russian tactical aviation from carrying out attacks in much of the country.