Russian Projectiles Had 90% Failure Rate in May, Ukraine Says

  • Around 90% of Russia’s drones and missiles fired in May were destroyed, the Kyiv Post reported.
  • The Ukrainian outlet estimated that the munitions cost the Kremlin around $1.7 billion.
  • The bulk of the expenses came from destroyed Kh-55 missiles, which cost around $1.48 billion.

Almost 90% of Russia’s missiles and drones were shot down in Ukraine in May, according to a Ukrainian analysis.

The Kremlin launched at least 563 missiles and Iranian-manufactured kamikaze drones in Ukraine that month, and 533 of them were neutralized, wrote Pete Shmigel, an Australian writer who reports for the Kyiv Post.

His day-by-day analysis, based on data from Ukraine’s military, found that the munitions likely cost Russia over $1.7 billion in May alone.

The bulk of Russia’s munitions expenses stemmed from destroyed Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles, costing $1.48 billion, the Kyiv Post reported. 

Moscow deployed 114 of these missiles, but 106 of them were destroyed, the outlet wrote. They’re typically fired from aircraft at long range.

The Kyiv Post also wrote that Ukraine used 401 Shahed-136 drones costing around $20,000 each, and that 362 were destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses.

All seven Kinzhal missiles, which Russia previously boasted were unstoppable, fired by the Kremlin’s forces in May were shot down, the Kyiv Post wrote. 

May 29 saw the most drones and missiles deployed in a single day, with 35 Iranian Shaheds and 51 missiles being deployed by Russia. Around 89.5% of them were shot down, per the Kyiv Post.

That failure rate eclipses earlier estimates from the US, which said in 2022 that as much as 60% of Russia’s missiles never reached their targets.

But in those days, Ukraine didn’t have the NATO-provided anti-air defenses it now possesses. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in November that American NASAMS air defense systems sent to Ukraine had a 100% success rate of intercepting Russian missiles. 

Lieutenant General Serhii Naiev, Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, assessed that its mixture of European and American-made air defense systems has an efficiency of at least 80% or higher, according to a Tuesday CNN report.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said on Sunday that its long-range Storm Shadow missiles, supplied by the UK in May, have hit 100% of their targets.

Earlier this month, a Russian missile attack near Kyiv struck a Patriot air defense system, but US officials said the damage caused wasn’t enough to require repairs, and that the system’s radar and missile components were still operational. 

Press departments for the Ukrainian and Russian defense ministries did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.

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