Russia views cruise missiles of the Kalibr type as a key potential for strikes deep inside Ukrainian territory to disrupt the expected counteroffensive, but their stockpile is likely limited, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on May 12.
Overnight on May 9, Russian Black Sea Fleet launched eight SS-N-30a SAGARIS land attack cruise missiles (NATO reporting name of Kalibr) at Ukraine, which, as the ministry wrote, was only the second use of these rockets since March 9.
Until March 2023, the Russian navy often launched Kalibrs to attack Ukraine but then temporarily stopped using them to restore its reserve stocks, reads the ministry's latest intelligence update.
Besides the short-term task of trying to hinder Ukraine's upcoming counteroffensive, Russia reportedly expects Kalibr missiles to perform "an important role in any hypothetical conflict with NATO."
"How to use these scarce and expensive weapons is one of the numerous dilemmas Russian commanders face because the war in Ukraine has gone on much longer than they originally planned for," the update concludes.
Ukraine's Armed Forces have begun "shaping operations" ahead of the long-awaited counteroffensive, CNN reported on May 12, citing a senior U.S. military official and a top Western official.
Shaping, a standard tactic developed before major joint operations, involves attacking targets such as weapons depots, command centers, armored vehicles, and artillery systems to prepare the battlefield for the advancing force.