How Ukraine's 'fleet of decoys' have 'outfoxed' Russian forces into wasting valuable weaponry: report

How Ukraine's 'fleet of decoys' have 'outfoxed' Russian forces into wasting valuable weaponry: report

For more than half a year, Europe has been suffering its worst military conflict since World War 2. Russian forces launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and in late August, neither side is showing any signs of giving up.

Ukraine has turned out to be much stronger and better organized militarily than Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin anticipated. And that includes a trick that Ukrainian forces, according to the Washington Post, successfully pulled off recently.

Reporting for the Post in an article published on August 29, journalist John Hudson explains, “Ukraine may be outgunned, but in the latest sign it is not yet outfoxed, a fleet of decoys resembling advanced U.S. rocket systems has tricked Russian forces into wasting expensive long-range cruise missiles on dummy targets, according to interviews with senior U.S. and Ukrainian officials and photographs of the replicas reviewed by The Washington Post.”

READ MORE: National security expert grapples with nuclear worst-case scenarios in Ukraine conflict

Hudson adds that “the Ukrainian decoys” are “made out of wood, but can be indistinguishable from an artillery battery through the lens of Russian drones, which transmit their locations to naval cruise missile carriers in the Black Sea.”

“The use of rocket system decoys, which has not been reported previously, is one of many asymmetrical tactics Ukraine’s armed forces have adopted to fight back against a bigger and better-equipped invading enemy,” Hudson reports. “In recent weeks, Kyiv’s operatives have blown up rail and electricity lines in occupied Russian territory, detonated explosives inside Russian arms depots and assassinated suspected collaborators. The destruction of Ukrainian replicas may partially account for Russia’s unusually boastful battle damage assessments on western artillery, particularly the U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.”

According to Hudson, the Pentagon “says it has provided 16 HIMARS to Ukraine since the start of the war.”

“U.S. allies have provided M270 rocket systems that have a similar functionality,” Hudson notes. “It was not possible to independently verify how many are still operational or how many, if any, were destroyed…. For Ukraine, the battlefield advantages of decoys are twofold, military analysts said.”

READ MORE: Operator fears 'sputtering of radioactive substances' at Ukraine nuclear plant

Decoys like the ones used by Ukrainian forces, according to Hudson, can cause Russian forces to waste valuable weaponry.

Rob Lee, who serves as a military analyst for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told the Post, “A Kalibr missile launched at a fake HIMARS target in a field is a missile that can’t be used against a Ukrainian city.”

READ MORE: A Russian exile in Ukraine claims to have info on the car bomb that killed a top Putin ally’s daughter

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