Slovak Donated S-300 Missile Systems Destroyed Just After Entering Ukraine - Reports

Following reports that Soviet built S-300 surface to air missile systems donated by Slovakia were en route to Ukraine, images emerged showing systems destroyed by Russian air strikes possibly before becoming operational.  Variants of the S-300P series were sold to Czechoslovakia in the 1980s and inherited by Slovakia after the state’s partitioning, with the country’s military inventories comprised primarily of armaments inherited from the Soviet era. 1980s variants of the S-300 have much more limited capabilities than modern models, including engagement ranges of under 100km, while the latest variant in production today S-300V4 variant can engage targets 400km away. The systems have significantly lower mobility and situational awareness, are not designed for defence of large areas, and lack a multi-layered defence capabilities. 

Despite their age, S-300s deployed by Ukraine have been a priority target of Russia’s air campaign since the beginning of operations on February 24 which have facilitated operations in Ukrainian airspace with relatively low losses. The primary threat to Russian combat jets is considered to come from handheld surface to air missile systems such as the Igla and Stinger, the former which was reportedly responsible for shooting down a Russian Su-34 strike fighter on March 5. Unlike the S-300, these systems do not have radar signatures and can be concealed in infantry formations, although they are much more restricted in the range and altitude and easier to evade with manoeuvres or countermeasures. The destruction of S-300s comes as Moscow has again reiterated that Western armaments entering Ukraine will be considered a legitimate targets. Western combatants volunteering to fight against Russian forces have also been extensively targeted and taken considerable casualties to Russian missile strikes.

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