Donbass : In the unrecognized republics of the LPR and DPR, they supported the proposal of Russian Senator Andrey Turchak to start supplying weapons to the defenders of Donbass from Russia. They immediately stated that they most of all need air defense and electronic warfare equipment that would help shoot down Ukrainian drones. However, a number of military experts believe that air defense systems alone in the event of an attack by Ukrainian troops will not be enough for the defenders of the LPR and DPR. We also need percussion instruments. MK found out from experts what weapons Russia can supply to Donbass and what not, and why. For example, can Iskander missile systems reach the Donbass?
– If the decision on the supply of weapons to the LPR and the DPR is made at the official level, – says Alexei Leonkov, a military expert, editor of the Arsenal of the Fatherland publication, – then this will primarily, of course, be the supply of air defense systems, with which everything is not very good there well. Of course, I would also add to them electronic warfare systems – electronic warfare stations, and also strengthen the grouping with cannon artillery systems and multiple launch rocket systems – MLRS, in particular, Tornado-G.
– Are these some modern systems with high-precision missiles?
– We did not have guided missiles in the MLRS. Although now the developers have achieved high accuracy of hitting area targets. There will be no survivors in the place that the Tornado salvo will cover. Guided missiles are Iskander. It would be possible to supply the LPR and the DPR with more aviation systems, but they do not have their own aviation, so this would make no sense. Aviation is the main advantage that the Ukrainian army has over the defenders of Donbass. That is why air defense systems are so relevant for the militias. I would say it is military air defense, that is, Buk and Tor are short and medium-range systems. And if necessary, we will get them from our territory with long-range S-400 systems.
– You mentioned the Iskander complex, which is so feared in the West. Is it possible to use it if, God forbid, a conflict starts in eastern Ukraine?
– Quite realistic, but this does not mean that Iskanders will be delivered to the DPR or LPR. If we are talking about supplies, this is one thing, but if we are talking about assistance to unrecognized republics, it is quite another. Ukraine, by the way, has similar missile systems – Tochka-U. They have already dragged them to the line of contact.
I believe that now it is necessary for the LNR and the DNR to provide complexes that could help them in a ground operation. They themselves have enough tanks to carry it out. And if the artillery and multiple launch rocket systems still work well, then all offensive fervor from the other side will be extinguished.
– Do multiple launch rocket systems work by area?
– As part of our MLRS systems, there are such rockets that are designed to destroy armored vehicles. They simply cover a section of the territory where tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles are located, and turn them into a pile of metal.
“But it’s still not a high-precision weapon, is it?”
– It makes no sense to supply high-precision weapons to the LPR and DPR, because there simply are no specialists in high-precision systems. For example, we initially supplied the Syrians with modernized T-72 tanks, but it turned out that they had T-72 specialists – once or twice and miscalculated. Then I had to deliver what they know. T-64 tanks stagnated in our warehouses. We brought them to mind, put them there, and the Syrians immediately began to fight. That is, you need to understand that with all due respect to the defenders of Donbass, they do not own modern high-precision systems and weapons. This must be learned.
Another military expert, the former head of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the Special Purpose Command (Air Defense District of Moscow), Colonel Sergei Khatylev believes that the main task of protecting the unrecognized republics may well be solved solely by the supply of air defense systems.
“There now, our Pantsir air defense systems are needed to combat drones and other low-altitude targets,” the expert says. – They are effective against helicopters that support troops from the air, dropping troops and are available to the Ukrainians in sufficient numbers. In addition, this complex, having four 30-mm automatic cannons with six launch rockets, is also capable of firing at a ground enemy, including tanks. At one time, I participated in the tests of the “Shell” at the Kapustin Yar training ground, where just this complex fired at the tanks placed for it.
– How many “Shells” may be needed for the defenders of Donbass?
– They’re talking about dozens of cars. It is also important that the command post of the “Shell” is able to control several machines at once. And it is still very difficult for him to interfere. The Pantsirya multifunctional radar station conducts reconnaissance in the centimeter range, combat work to detect targets and destroy them in the millimeter range. The complex has an infrared detector that detects targets, identifying them by the exhaust of the turbine. And also visually. With the help of a television optical sight, he can shoot a cannon at a distance of up to five kilometers. So from this point of view, Pantsir is the most convenient complex for the LPR and DPR and the most unpretentious.
– What about the Buk and Tor complexes?
“They also performed very well. Donbass asks them. They are also very unpretentious. “Tors” work on low-altitude targets in automatic mode. There are ten anti-aircraft missiles on board, and all in one combat vehicle, no more than three meters in length. That is, everything is compact and convenient for calculation.
Buk-M2 is also needed by Donbass. The media wrote that several complexes remained there. They are also very good for destroying various air targets both at medium and high altitudes. And most importantly, it is a self-propelled installation on a caterpillar track. So from the point of view of their application in the LNR and DNR, they can be very effective.
– If all these complexes appear in sufficient numbers in the Donbass, can this fundamentally change the balance of military forces?
– Undoubtedly. With their help, it is possible to build a layered air defense in the Donbass, that is, to create a no-fly zone over the LPR and DPR. And without air support, it is practically impossible to fight today, there will simply be nothing for Ukrainian troops to catch there.