The weapons used in the Russia-Ukraine war
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the largest conflict that Europe has seen since World War II, with Russia conducting a multi-pronged offensive across the country.
The Russian military has pummeled wide areas in Ukraine with airstrikes and has conducted major rocket and artillery bombardments, resulting in large numbers of casualties.
Warplanes and missiles
- The Russian military has used warplanes and Kalibr (Caliber) cruise missiles to hit facilities throughout the country.
- The Kalibr is a precision weapon, but Ukrainian military facilities and government buildings apparently targeted by those missiles in Kyiv and Kharkiv are located close to residential areas, resulting in civilian casualties.
- To hit key targets, the Russian military also has used Iskander missiles that have a range of up to 500 kilometers (around 300 miles) and carry a much more powerful warhead that can destroy big buildings and some fortified facilities.
- The Soviet-designed Grad (Hail), Smerch (Tornado) and Uragan (Hurricane) multiple rocket launchers are designed to fire a salvo of powerful rockets to destroy concentrations of troops or military equipment.
- The Russian military also has a wide range of powerful Soviet-designed artillery units, which were bizarrely named after flowers, such as self-propelled 203-mm Peony and 152-mm Hyacinth and Acacia self-propelled howitzers.
- Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of using cluster munitions.
- Cluster bombs, rockets and artillery shells open in the air, releasing submunitions, or “bomblets,” that are dispersed over a large area and simultaneously hit multiple targets.
- Thermobaric weapons consist of a fuel container and two separate explosive charges, with the first detonating to disperse the fuel particles and the second igniting the dispersed fuel and oxygen in the air, creating a blast wave of extreme pressure and heat that creates a partial vacuum in an enclosed space.
- The Ukrainian military has relied on the same assortment of Soviet-built multiple rocket launchers and howitzers that the Russian military has.
- It doesn’t possess sophisticated long-range precision weapons like Russia’s Iskander ballistic missiles and Kalibr cruise missiles.
- The Ukrainian military has Soviet-era Tochka-U short-range ballistic missiles, which have a powerful warhead but poor precision compared to the latest Russian weapons.
- In addition to its aging Soviet-made arsenals, Ukraine has received large shipments of Western weapons, such as U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles and shoulder-launched Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
- The Ukrainian military also has used Bayraktar drones supplied by Turkey before the conflict.
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