Russia is using balloons over Ukraine, Estonia’s spy chief says

Russia is using balloons over Ukraine, Estonia’s spy chief says
Опубликовано: Friday, 17 February 2023 16:36

Moscow copies recent Chinese playbook.

Russia is flying balloons over Ukraine to weaken its air defense system, the head of Estonia’s intelligence warned Friday.

This strategy is aimed at ”exhausting Ukrainian air defenses and wasting their anti-aircraft weapons,” as Ukraine will destroy the meteorological balloons without knowing what they are carrying, said Colonel Margo Grosberg at a briefing in Tallinn, as reported by the Estonian news agency ERR.

While they didn’t contain any military or intelligence cargo, the Russian balloons carried reflectors to make themselves visible to Ukraine’s air defense radars.

Grosberg added: “[This strategy] also makes [Ukraine’s] anti-aircraft crews visible as a result of their actions, because you can then see where the missiles are coming from.” Describing the balloons as “a cheap and clever trick,” he pointed out that their cost is far lower than that of the anti-aircraft missiles which are used to shoot them down.

Estonia’s intelligence chief raised the alarm weeks after the U.S. shot down what it identified as a Chinese surveillance balloon, as well as other unrecognized flying objects. “I don’t know whether the Russian Federation got this idea from the Chinese balloons or from somewhere else,” he added.

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