The UK Defence Ministry has noted that Russia has amassed substantial stockpiles of cruise missiles ahead of winter and is simultaneously shaping the battlefield for a potential winter campaign against Ukraine's energy infrastructure.
Source: UK Defence Intelligence review on Twitter dated 21 November, as reported by European Pravda
Details: UK analysts noted that Russia deployed about 50 Shahed UAVs between 18 and 19 November 2023, mainly targeting Kyiv. They were launched in waves from Russia's Kursk and Krasnodar.
One of Russia's goals was likely to deplete Ukraine's air defences in order to shape the battlefield ahead of any coordinated winter campaign to target Ukraine's energy infrastructure.
Russia has refrained from launching its core air-to-surface cruise missiles from its fleet of heavy bombers for almost two months, which has likely allowed it to amass sizeable stockpiles of these weapons, the UK MoD said.
UK Defence Intelligence believes Russia will likely use these missiles if it attempts to destroy Ukraine's critical national infrastructure again.
In late October, the UK MoD pointed to a long pause in Russia's use of long-range aircraft for missile strikes against Ukraine, attributing it to the build-up of winter stockpiles.
UK intelligence also noted Russia's increasing use of Lancet kamikaze drones in key counter-battery operations.