According to Russian state-owned media, the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) have now established new formations of air defense units distinctly assigned to occupied territory of Ukraine. These new units will now solely defend critical infrastructure throughout Kherson, Zaporizhzia, Donetsk, and Luhansk as opposed to being part of the maneuver forces or defending Russian cities. The report reads:
“”In the new regions of the Russian Federation, air defense units and formations of the Aerospace Forces have been formed, which, together with formations and military units of the military air defense, successfully solve the tasks of covering important facilities, large administrative and industrial centers located in the NVO zone,” the ministry said. on the occasion of the day of the Air Defense Forces, celebrated in 2023 on April 9.”
This means that these units will comprise firing units of the VKS and air defense units of the ground forces. The establishment of dedicated defense to critical Ukrainian infrastructure demonstrates the renewed resolve to consolidate gains. This announcement also signals that further encroachments into Ukraine are less likely and that the Russian Federation will ultimately seek to conquer the four oblasts annexed at the end of 2022 as opposed to making a new push for Kyiv or even Kharkiv.
Removing air defense units from maneuver forces is a significant development.