S-400 destroyed? Ukraine claims it has overthrown the ‘best air defense system in the world’; Share FB video online

The Ukrainian armed forces claimed to have destroyed two S-400 launchers and an S-300 radar, among other Russian military equipment, in southern Ukraine. This is the latest of several such claims coming out of Kyiv, as the propaganda war between Ukraine and Russia continues.

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The Operational Command “South” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) said in a Facebook video post on September 7, it carried out 370 missile and artillery strikes on Russian forces, killing more than 100 Russian servicemen and destroying five Grad Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), two S-400 missile launchers, one radar S-300 homing station and other storage sites for Russian military equipment and ammunition.

The AFU’s “Southern” operational command did not specify where these S-400 launchers were located.

However, according to veteran US Navy SEAL and conflict correspondent Chuck Pfarrer, the two S-400 launchers in question were in Kherson. At least one of them was identified by Ukrainian forces on September 5 when it was moved to the vicinity of Hola Prystan.

Hola Prystan is a town in Skadovsk district of Kherson Oblast where Ukrainian forces are known to have carried out attacks using HIMARS MLRS and other artillery and missile systems over the past few days.

The Ukrainian army is trying to retake the Russian-occupied Kherson region in what is considered Kyiv’s most ambitious military operation in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Although there have been several big claims of victories in Kherson from the Ukrainian side, the latest reports from inside Ukraine suggest that the “Kherson Offensive” is faltering.

EurAsian Times was unable to verify the Ukrainian claims, and so far there have been no documented cases of S-400 launchers being deployed in the Kherson region.

Russian S-400 launchers present in Kherson?

The operational range of the S-400 system missiles is up to 400 kilometers, and the surveillance range is up to 600 kilometers. It is unlikely that the Russian military will need to deploy its S-400 missile launchers inside Ukraine.

EurAsian Times asked veteran Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilot squadron leader Vijainder Thakur what he thought of the alleged presence of S-400 missile launchers inside from Ukraine.

“From the Russian point of view, the positioning of S-400 systems in Ukraine would make no sense – Operational gains would be minimal, but S-400 systems would become legitimate targets for Ukraine to strike using the ‘AGM-88 HARM & HIMARS,’ Thakur says.

Thakur also pointed out that Ukraine “repeatedly launched AGM-88 missiles from MiG-29 fighters against Russian AD [Air Defense] assets deployed in the Kherson beachhead, which would have been impossible for them to do with the S-400 systems deployed in liberated Ukraine [Russian-held Ukrainian territory].”

However, in July, Ukrainian forces reportedly destroyed a Russian low-altitude radar 48Ya6-K1 Podlet-K1 which is said to be used for the S-400 air defense system.

The Podlet-K1 radar was reportedly stationed in the Lazurne region of Kherson Oblast, located 50 kilometers south of Hola Prystan on the Black Sea coast. This was probably the first documented case of the radar’s presence in Ukraine.

Radar 48Ya6-K1 Podlet-K1 with command vehicles (Vitaly Kuzmin)

Therefore, if there is any truth in the assertions of the AFU Operational Command “South”, the S-400 launchers in question could have been intended for the firing of the 9M96E and 9M96E2 surface-to-air missiles, which have ranges of 40 and 120 kilometers, respectively.

Together with the Podlet-K1 radar, which has a maximum detection range of between 200 and 300 kilometers, the 9M96E and 9M96E2 could have been used to destroy medium-range, low-flying airborne targets.

Asked about this possibility, Thakur explained that the S-400 is an integrated layered AD system designed to engage a wide range of aerial threats, and that it includes radars, missiles, electronic warfare and communications systems, some of which can be operated independently or as part of other systems such as the S-300VM (Antey-2500), which are designed to engage a narrower spectrum of AD threats.

“It is possible that components of the S-400 systems will be deployed in liberated Ukraine,” Thakur said.

S-400 missile
File Image: S-400 Missile

Previous claims of S-400 failures

This is the latest of several unsubstantiated claims about the failures of the S-400 air defense system against Ukrainian attacks.

In July, adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, Anton Gerashchenko, said that S-400 air defense systems could not intercept HIMARS rockets, without providing details of a single case of failure of the S-400 against the HIMARS.

Moreover, shortly before Gerashchenko made his statements, a Ukrainian media portal claimed that the S-400 could not shoot down a single HIMARS rocket in the Donbass, Zaporizhzhia or Kherson regions.

During an attack on a Russian military installation at Khartsyzk in Donetsk, a HIMARS rocket destroyed the S-400 complex, according to the report.

That said, it is also essential to consider that this is probably the first time that an operational command of the Ukrainian army officially claims to have destroyed S-400 launchers. In contrast, earlier claims came from semi-official or unverifiable media reports.

Again, this is a big propaganda war being waged between Russia and Ukraine, and EurAsian Times could not verify the claims made by Kyiv in its Facebook video post.

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