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Russia’s military needed up to 72 hours to approve a strike — making soldiers hit Ukrainian targets too late: report

russianA helicopter flies during military training in Moscow, Russia, on August 17, 2022.

Pavel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • Russia faltered in its air missions after invading Ukraine, stunted by the military’s rigidity.
  • Russia’s military generally needed up to 72 hours for approval to attack new targets, per The NYT.
  • Despite Russia having more military equipment than Ukraine, Ukrainian forces were more agile.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Moscow felt confident in its scores of military fighter jets and planes to help complete their mission as the country sought to overwhelm Ukrainian forces.

But while Russia had significantly more fighter jets than Ukraine, Russian soldiers found themselves hamstrung by their own military’s rigidity when seeking to attack new targets, according to a New York Times investigation published Saturday detailing the country’s failures throughout the conflict.

The effectiveness of the Ukrainian air defense system gave the country a critical advantage early on, allowing them to blunt any perceived advantages that Russia may have brought to the table purely from the scope of their weaponry.

Per The Times, Ukraine’s fighter jets “were outnumbered 15 to one in some early air battles” and Russia boasted “thousands of cruise and ballistic missiles” that American and Ukrainian intelligence officials thought would overwhelm the smaller military force.

But Ukraine came up with a plan, moving some of their defenses — including Buk and S-300 missile launchers and their control center — to different locations before the Russia began the conflict, according to senior Ukrainian officials who spoke with the Times.

Instead of attacking the new targets, Russia largely bombarded the old locations no longer being used by Ukraine.

Per US officials who spoke with The Times, up to “60 percent of Russian cruise missiles missed their intended targets.”

Russia was also slow to launch blitzes on new targets, according to the report.

The country’s “rigid and centralized” military generally required 48 to 72 hours to amend its intelligence and obtain approval to attack new targets, giving Ukrainian forces up to three days to move to different locations, per The Times.

This rigidity also hurt Russian forces, as their pilots struggled to cripple Ukraine’s defenses and flew without backup from additional fighter jets.

A Ukrainian pilot, Oleksii, who spoke with The Times, said the Russian pilots “flew straight without any cover.”

“Maybe the Russian Army didn’t read the Soviet books,” Oleksii told the newspaper. “They had bombs, they had rockets, but they didn’t cover their attack aircraft.”

The slow decision-making of the Russian military effectively shredded their plans to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and several other cities early in the conflict.

Read the original article on Business Insider