In a fresh round of attacks, Russian balloons overfly Kiev

In Ukraine, pictures of a deflated balloon fastened to a deflector have surfaced on social media

Six balloons were spotted over the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv the day before, and according to the head of the Ukrainian army, Russia fired 36 cruise missiles early on Thursday.

A woman was killed by missiles fired from land and the sea, and officials said that they also hit vital infrastructure.

In apparent reference to the balloons over Kyiv, Ukraine noted a change in Russian strategy.

The majority of the balloons, which were being propelled by wind, were shot down, according to the military in Kiev.

Social media posts depict a crude design with a cross-shaped structure that reflects radar trailing beneath the balloon that is held aloft by a line. Recent days have also seen reflector-equipped balloons flying over Dnipropetrovsk's eastern region.

Air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat stated that "these objects could be equipped with radar reflectors and specific reconnaissance gear.". "The purpose of the balloon launch was to find and deplete our air defense forces. " .

Recent tensions in the US and Ukraine have been heightened by high-altitude balloons. And earlier this week, Romania scrambled fighter jets after a weather balloon-like object was spotted at a height of roughly 11,000 feet (3,350 meters). The unknown object caused Moldova to briefly close its airspace.

The balloons appear to be an addition to Russia's aerial use of cruise missiles and less expensive Iranian drones as the first anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine draws near.

The balloons may cause radar systems to malfunction and tempt the Ukrainian military to fire incredibly expensive surface-to-air missiles (Sams) at purported "false targets.".

Given the size and speed of the balloons, the air force spokesman claimed that Ukrainian radar was able to correctly identify the objects and, at least twice, bring them down with bullets rather than wasting missiles.

The balloons, however, might also serve as a ruse. Ground-based radars, many of which are a part of their own Sam systems from the Soviet era as well as contemporary equivalents supplied by the West, are constantly scanning the skies for Russian aircraft and missiles.

According to the Ukrainian military, the balloons' reflectors would make Ukrainian aircraft defenses lock on to them.

Corner reflector
The type of reflector used with the balloons was shown in an image posted by the Ukrainian military.

The balloons would then free up as much of that missile defense as they could, allowing Russia's fighters, bombers, cruise missiles, and attack drones to strike Ukrainian targets comparatively unhindered.

The idea is to reflect the radar energy from the Ukrainian radars that "paint" the balloons back at them. The balloons may appear to be actual Russian aircraft or helicopters from a distance because of the strong winds, which would encourage Ukrainian defenses to engage them.

According to Russian military expert Andrei Klintsevich, Russia is employing the same tactic to thwart attacks on the bridge that spans the Kerch Strait to Crimea.

To trick air defenses, more advanced decoys have been used in previous conflicts. They were allegedly used by Israel against Syrian Sams in the Bekaa Valley in 1982 and US aircraft in the early stages of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq in 1991. .

These balloon drones may be distinguishable from actual threats by modern Sam systems deployed to Ukraine, such as Nasams, Iris-T, and Patriot. However, the Russians will view any diversion as a successful strategy.

The balloons may be used for surveillance, according to the Ukrainian air force spokesman, who also stressed the importance of a thorough investigation.

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