Russia has reduced its long-range missile strikes to rebuild its stockpile for a major offensive to damage Ukrainian infrastructure next month, one of Kyiv's intelligence chiefs has said.
Moscow’s planners are also “meticulously” gathering intelligence on Ukraine’s missile defence systems to allow their cruise missiles to by-pass them.
Despite strict sanctions on technology imports, the Russians are still able to produce an estimated 100 missiles a month of all types, said Maj Gen Vadym Skibitskyi, deputy chief of the Military Intelligence Directorate, or GUR.
He estimated that Russia has 585 missiles with a range of more than 500km range, with some launched from aircraft and others from vessels in the Black Sea.
The total number of Kalibr sea-launched missiles now stands at 140, an increase of 81 since January. Similarly, Iskander ballistic and cruise missiles have increased by 126 to 270 in total.
The total number of hypersonic air-launched Kinzhal ballistic missiles is now 75, an increase of 22 since January. There are a further 250 cruise missile of various types that have decreased slightly in number.
Ukraine intelligence now believes that Russia will use its arsenal to strike critical infrastructure this autumn although it does not have enough missiles to attack on the scale it did last winter.
“Such massive attacks as those of last October, November and December, when the Russians launched 70 to 100 missiles at a time, are unlikely to happen again,” Maj Gen Skibitskyi told the RBK-Ukraine outlet.
“The Russians are aware that they may not achieve their goal but, instead, they just deplete their reserves as they did last year.”
Russia is expected to develop a new tactic of using its production of Iran-designed Shahed kamikaze drones to act as a screen for the deadlier cruise missiles.
It was also improving its ability to hit targets and its decision-making speed, as well as carefully selecting targets while meticulously searching for flight routes to bypass Ukrainian air defence systems, Major Gen Skibitskyi said.
He suggested that Russia would strike with between 10 to 30 missiles, accompanied by many more Shahed drones that could make it difficult for Ukraine’s air defences.
Since May, Russia has launched near-continuous air strikes but with fewer missiles, allowing them to replenish stocks.
The UN has stated that at least 9,511 civilians have been killed since the invasion began in February last year, with most of the deaths caused by air strikes.
While Maj Gen Skibitskyi said Russia was struggling to make a number of different types of missiles due to foreign component shortages as a result of sanctions, it has previously been reported that 81 per cent of parts have originated in America.
On Monday, Russia launched four Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea and two from aircraft towards the city of Kryvyi Rih, with all but two intercepted, which later struck a civilian industrial plant.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Security Services sources informed RBK-Ukraine that an airfield drone strike near Kursk in Russia on Sunday had damaged five fighters, a radar, as well as a Pantsir and S-300 air defence systems.
The results were denied by Russian authorities who claimed the drones hit an apartment block.