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Russia is painting fake silhouettes next to its ships, hoping to trick Ukraine into attacking the wrong targets, UK intel says


  • Russia has painted silhouettes of ships on land to try to trick Ukraine’s military, the UK MOD said.

  • It said Russia is trying to protect its vessels from Ukraine, which has been able to take out many.

  • But it said that the techniques are unlikely to “lead to any significant reduction in losses.”

Russia is painting silhouettes of naval vessels on land to try to trick Ukraine, which keeps destroying its warships, according to UK intelligence.

In an intelligence update on Wednesday, the UK Ministry of Defence said that “silhouettes of vessels have also been painted on the side of quays, probably to confuse uncrewed aerial vehicle operators.”

It shared an image that it said showed the painted silhouette of a submarine on a quay beside a real submarine. It said it was observed in Russia’s Novorossiysk port on the Black Sea.

Ukraine has used uncrewed aerial vehicles, also known as drones, as part of its successful attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Despite not having any warships of its own, Ukraine has been able to take out vessels using drones, missiles, and commando raids.

The UK said last month that 25% of Russia’s vessels in the Black Sea had been sunk, damaged, or destroyed.

To protect its ships, Russia has moved many vessels away from Sevastopol, its major Black Sea port in Crimea.

The UK MOD said that Russia is trying to improve its efforts to conceal assets “to mitigate the heavy losses sustained over the past two years in both the Black Sea Fleet and Aerospace Forces.”

The MOD also said that Russia has painted vessels with black paint on their bows and sterns “likely to make their warships appear smaller and a less appealing target.”

It described these moves as part of a wider effort to trick Ukraine so it can protect its vessels and its aircraft.

It said that Russia not doing this effectively was one of its “key operational failures in the early phases of the invasion of Ukraine,” which was launched in February 2022.

The MOD also described Russia’s efforts to protect its aircraft, including “decoy dummy models of aircraft and tyres on wings of planes.”

It said there are reports that Russia has painted the silhouettes of airframes at nine of its air bases. Satellite images have shown Russian aircraft covered in rows of car tires.

But it said that Russia’s efforts to protect its hardware is unlikely to be successful as ships and planes still have to move in order to be involved in operations.

“It is unlikely that the use of maskirovka techniques will lead to any significant reduction in losses,” it said.

Ukraine has also used decoys to try to trick its enemy. It has made decoys of radars and missile systems, hoping to make Russian forces use up valuable weaponry on useless targets.

George Barros, a geospatial-intelligence team lead and a Russia analyst at the Institute for the Study of War think tank, told Business Insider’s Chris Panella last year that a “decoy arms race” was underway.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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