The U.K. Ministry of Defense has released information that indicates Russian Aerospace Forces are utilizing the S-300 (SA-20) and S-400 (SA-21) Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) as Surface to Surface Missiles (SSM). The SA-20 and SA-21 are strategic missile systems used to deny large swaths of airspace, out to 180NM, to adversary aircraft and precision guided munitions. However, due to the exhaustion of Russian surface to surface missiles such as the Kalibr (SS-N-30A), Iskander (SS-26), and S-N-27 Sizzler, the Aerospace Forces have been tasked with using their surface to air missiles in surface mode.
Since the Russian Aerospace Forces have enjoyed air superiority against the dwindling Ukrainian Air Force, there is an extremes excess of Ukrainian surface-to-air missiles, allowing this re-allocating. However, as the U.K. Ministry of Defense commented in today’s announcement, these systems are operating in a secondary mode, most likely resulting in shots that are way off target and may be impacting civilian infrastructure inadvertently.
The Russian Federation is most likely attempting to conserve its strategic reserve of surface-to-surface missiles in order to repel a NATO incursion through the Baltics or into Ukraine itself.