In a strategic maneuver poised to reshape the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russia has announced the imminent deployment of its most advanced howitzers, signaling a significant escalation in its military tactics. Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, the Russian state-owned defense conglomerate, confirmed in a recent interview with RIA, the state news agency, that the Coalition-SV self-propelled artillery units have completed testing and are now in mass production, with the first batch expected to reach the frontlines by the end of 2023.
These state-of-the-art howitzers, boasting a formidable range of up to 70 kilometers (approximately 44 miles), are equipped with a modern 2A88 cannon of 152 mm caliber. Their impressive firing rate of over 10 rounds per minute, coupled with advanced automation for gun pointing, target selection, and navigation, places them at a strategic advantage over Western artillery models.
TASS, another Russian state news agency, reported that some units have already been deployed to Ukraine's frontlines.
Kremlin Dismisses EU Aid, Escalates Attacks
Amidst these developments, the Kremlin remains unfazed by the European Union's decision to provide substantial financial aid to Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the impact of the EU's proposed 20 billion euros aid package, suggesting it would be ineffectual in altering the conflict's trajectory while potentially straining Europe's economy.
In a separate but related development, Russian forces have intensified their attacks in Ukraine. Recent drone strikes and artillery bombardments have tragically claimed civilian lives and caused extensive damage. In Kherson, a southern Ukrainian city, these attacks left a significant portion of the population without electricity in the harsh winter conditions.
The targeting of energy infrastructure, a tactic previously employed by Russia, aims to demoralize the Ukrainian populace by depriving them of essential utilities.
Odesa Strikes; Marinka's Uncertain Impact
Furthermore, in Odesa, drone assaults resulted in casualties and injuries, including a teenager.
However, Ukrainian air forces successfully intercepted a majority of the drones launched in these overnight attacks. Despite these aggressive moves by Russia, Western military assessments remain cautious about Russia's ability to translate these actions into substantial battlefield gains.
The recent capture of Marinka, a city in eastern Ukraine, is not expected to alter the overall dynamics of the conflict significantly. The Institute for the Study of War has emphasized that while Russia continues to exert pressure through localized offensive operations, rapid operational advances are deemed highly unlikely.
As the situation evolves, the international community watches closely, with the actions and responses of both sides being scrutinized for their potential impact on the broader geopolitical landscape.