Ukraine Is Lobbing Eight-Ton Air-Defense Missiles At Russian Cities

Jul 28, 2023

An S-200’s missile-transporter.

While the Ukrainian government continues pleading with allied governments for longer-range weapons, the Ukrainian air force has taken matters into its own hands.

Sometime before this month, the air force pulled obsolete S-200 surface-to-air missile systems out of long-term storage, apparently replaced the command-guidance units in their V-860/880 missiles with GPS seekers—thus converting them into surface-to-surface missiles—and began firing them at targets inside Russia.

The Friday S-200 strike targeted Taganrog, a city on Russia’s Black Sea coast 20 miles from the border with Ukraine, and a hundred miles from the front line. A driver’s dashboard camera captured the eight-ton missile in the instant before it smashed into a city block, reportedly damaging a cafe and an apartment building and wounding a dozen people.

The S-200 strike in Taganrog comes 19 days after the first confirmed strike by the same missile type. That attack damaged an industrial site in Bryansk, in Russia around 110 miles from the Ukrainian border.

Donations of purpose-made deep-strike weapons by Ukraine’s allies tend to come with provisos—most commonly: don’t use them on targets inside Russia.

Before the United Kingdom provided Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles this spring, British defense minister Ben Wallace sought assurances from his Ukrainian counterparts that the Ukrainians only would use the stealthy munitions against Russian targets in occupied Ukraine—a pledge the Ukrainians apparently have honored since launching their first Storm Shadow strike back in May.

The Ukrainians have agreed to no such limitations on their homemade deep-strike weapons. Russian rocket strikes on Ukrainian cities are a near-daily occurrence. Retaliatory strikes—Ukrainian rockets smashing Russian cities—could become more common as the Ukrainians improvise more long-range weapons. Not just rockets, but also drones.

Ukraine’s substantial stocks of 1960s-vintage V-860/880 missiles begged for reuse. As a surface-to-air weapon, the bulky S-200 is out of date. Ukraine before the current war converted its air-defenses to newer, nimbler S-300 systems; now it’s replacing the S-300s with Western-made SAMs that are even lighter.

But the same bulk that makes the 30-foot V-860/880 missile an air-defense dinosaur also makes it a useful ground-strike weapon.

Its 500-pound warhead accounts for just a fraction of its destructive potential. Any fuel still in its tanks at the moment of impact would add an incendiary effect to its blast effect. Check out the fireball and shockwave from the Friday attack.

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David Axe


  1. “Ukraine’s substantial stocks of 1960s-vintage V-860/880 missiles begged for reuse. As a surface-to-air weapon, the bulky S-200 is out of date.”

    I am glad to read about this. Not the out of date part, but the substantial stocks part. Ukrainian engineers will convert them all to be used as ground-to-.ground missiles. This, I am sure, is going on right now. Maybe they can be used to further demolish the Kerch Bridge. Certainly, many other valuable targets will be found and destroyed by these fat boys.

  2. I think this is wonderful. Not only the fact we have a good supply but speaks to the tenacity and ingenuity of Ukrainians to get the job done. ATA boy!!!

  3. What the hell is this bullshit about not targeting RuSSia? This is not a civil war, it is an open attack by RuSSia, thus the battlefield stretches from Lviv to Vladivostok now. How does the Browne House come up with so much nonsense??? Roubles up the ass?!

    • Idiots in the US, extreme MAGA types, are the people pushing the Civil War meme. Having dealt with a bunch of them, they are not the thinkers they want to make themselves out to be. They are fans of Mearsheimer, MacGregor, Ritter, and Johnson, all of whom have been worse than dead wrong about Ukraine.

      • It’s not only the idiotic maga types (not sure if it’s all mags or just some) but also the far left “squad” asses and frankly anyone who has an arrogance about them that feel they can change history. Stupid has no bounds, no specific ideologies no specific labels, the only commonality that I see are people with limited intellect and feel they are God’s gift to humanity.

    • Good questions, Mike. This is unprecedented in the history of warfare, where the victim gets banned from attacking the aggressor with the weapons of the supposed allies. This is akin to Great Britain not being allowed to attack Nazi Germany with US supplied weapons.

      • I think those that tell Ukraine not to hit russia are embarrassed because Ukraine is doing their work for them…again. Plus, what about the future when the filth is out of Ukraine? Won’t we have to hit their missile bases? So wtf?

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