(PatrioticPost.com)- Russia’s terror bombing campaign against Ukraine was designed to dismantle the social fabric that supported the Ukrainian state.
Borrowed from Germany’s initial strategic bombing missions in World War I, attacking terror targets has been ever more successful. In his seminal work, Bombing to Win, Robert Pape assessed the effectiveness of strategic bombing operations and concluded that, in most cases, it is preferable to employ air power as part of a plan to eliminate an opponent’s military forces rather than in strikes on civilian targets.
Ukraine’s air defenses are much too effective for Russia to launch a typical campaign with its manned heavy bombers; therefore, the Russians have relied chiefly on long-range drones and cruise missiles in their onslaught. Despite this, Russia is burning through many high-tech weapons, maybe more than it can effectively replace. It also seems that Ukrainian defenses successfully destroy a significant fraction of the weapons before they can reach their objectives.
Since Russian aircraft are also in the airspace above the conflict, Ukraine must decide whether or not to use its costly air defense systems to counter the Russian terror onslaught.
Helping Ukraine reconstruct its damaged electrical system is within the purview of industrial powers like Germany. Air defenses are a simpler sell for Ukraine’s Western backers than tanks or fighter planes. Russia’s pinpoint targeting and mild winter conditions mitigated the impact of the bombing onslaught, making this terror operation exceptionally ill-suited to success.
The bombing campaign has aided Kyiv in painting Russia in a negative light and has shifted commercial activity away from Ukraine. Others have hypothesized that answering Russian criticism of Putin’s handling of the conflict motivates the campaign more than really hurts Ukraine. Putin may consider the campaign a success if it strengthens his position in the Russian government.