Ukraine Targets Radars That Are Part of Russia’s Nuclear Warning System

Ukrainian officials say drones targeted two radar systems deep inside Russia over the past week

A Ukrainian intelligence source told Reuters that a Ukrainian drone targeted a radar deep inside Russian territory that’s part of Russia’s early-warning system to detect nuclear missiles. The incident marks the second time within a week that Ukrainian officials reported attacks on a Russian nuclear warning system, known as “Voronezh M” radars.

The source said that the strike targeted a radar near the city of Orsk in Russia’s Orenburg Oblast, which is over 900 miles away from Ukrainian-held territory. The source didn’t say if there was any damage, and Russian media reported a drone was downed in the Orenburg region and that no civilian infrastructure was hit.

On May 22, a Ukrainian drone targeted a Voronezh M radar in Russia’s Krasnodar Oblast at a radar station about 300 miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory. The US-state-funded RFE/RL reported there was damage to the radar site, citing satellite images, although Reuters said it could not verify the imagery.

While the Russian radars can track missiles fired by Ukraine, the primary function of the early-warning system is to detect intercontinental ballistic missiles to determine if Russia is coming under a nuclear attack. Ukraine’s targeting of the systems could lead to a major response from Russia or potentially a miscalculation as the attacks come at a time of unprecedented nuclear tensions between Washington and Moscow.

The Telegraph reported that the attack on the radar in Krasnodar “sparked alarm” in the west. The report quoted Thord Are Iversen, a Norwegian military analyst, who said it was “not a particularly good idea…, especially in times of tension” and that it was “in everyone’s best interest that Russia’s ballistic missile warning system works well.”

Russia has escalated its war in Ukraine in direct response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory. For example, Russia recently launched major strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure after Russian oil refineries came under attack, and President Vladimir Putin has said his offensive in Kharkiv was a response to Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s Belgorod Oblast.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.