Espreso. Global

Crimean saga guaranteed to continue: Russian targets will be destroyed by Ukrainian missiles. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

15 September, 2023 Friday

Ukraine’s Armed Forces have a missile with different homing heads. It is necessary to scale up and increase the range of destruction of Russian targets, which is provided for by the missile's design

Serhiy Zgurets, Ukrainian journalist and military expert, speaks on Espreso TV.

Attacks on Russian targets in Crimea

The Crimean saga continues. On September 13, the top event was the destruction of two Russian warships in Sevastopol Bay - the Minsk warship and the Rostov-na-Donu submarine. These attacks were carried out with Storm Shadow missiles from Ukrainian Air Force aircraft.

On September 14, a strike was carried out on the Russian Triumph air defense system in Yevpatoria. This time the operation was complex. First, drones were used to strike the radars that make up the complex. After disabling the radar, the Ukrainian Navy units hit the S-400 Triumph launch system with two Neptune cruise missiles. The cost of this system is $1.2 billion. It can be argued that this is the second time Neptune cruise missiles have been used against a ground target, specifically against Russian long-range air defense systems.

The first incident happened near Olenivka on Cape Tarkhankut on August 23. This suggests that the Ukrainian army has a new version of the weapon based on a cruise missile for this system. The Neptune system is based on the R-360 cruise missile developed by the Luch State Design Bureau. This is one of the leading enterprises of the domestic defense industry.

This missile was originally designed as an anti-ship missile. These missiles destroyed the cruiser Moskva. The Luch Design Bureau also developed other versions that provided for the possibility of striking ground targets and a version for air-to-ground aircraft. Strikes on land, unlike strikes on maritime targets, require a different homing head for this missile. It can be stated that Ukrainian developers have created a new homing warhead. Indeed, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have a new missile for destroying enemy targets with different homing heads. Now it is necessary to scale these missiles and strive to increase the range of destruction of enemy targets, which is provided for by the missile's design.

The Crimean saga is guaranteed to continue. We will see many more targets destroyed by Ukrainian missiles on the territory of Crimea, which is still occupied by Russia.

The situation at the frontlines

Fighting continues around Klishchiivka and Andriivka. Assault actions in the area of Robotyne are also ongoing. The situation on the outskirts of Novoprokopivka and Verbove is extremely complicated and dynamic. There are no changes on the map, but there are internal dynamics. Russia is losing manpower and equipment.

Russian troops are also trying to attack in other areas, including the Lyman, Avdiivka, and Marinka sectors. Speaking of Avdiivka, there was a report two days ago that Ukrainian defenders liberated part of the village of Opytne near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region.

Maksym Morozov, Legion of Liberty officer and Interior Ministry major, said that assault brigades successfully carried out local actions in the Avdiivka direction that pushed the Russian units back from Opytne.

If the offensive continues, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be able to implement some actions on the way to Pisky: they can cut off this settlement from the Russian troops, take control of the Donetsk airport, and move into the area of Spartak village. Of course, the General Staff will decide on further actions. We can assume that there may be interesting options for those actions. So far, we are observing the success of the Defense Forces. Of course, the Russian army is trying to counterattack and counterstorm.

The Liberty Legion officer added that Russia has intensified shelling of Avdiivka. When the Russians cannot win on the battlefield, they try to take revenge on the civilian population. The intensity of the Avdiivka shelling has always been high, they hit residential areas, and there are wounded among civilians. The more successful the Ukrainian Armed Forces are in the south, the more they will shell the settlement.

The Interior Ministry major said that it is difficult for both the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian forces to conduct offensive actions in this area. "The front line in the Avdiivka direction has been unshakable for the past 9 years. Ukraine's leadership has been using the tactic of small cuts. And these actions do not exclude the possibility that the assaults will spread to the north and unblock Avdiivka from the possibility of encirclement, pushing the Russian troops away from Krasnohorivka and Stepove beyond the H-20 road. Local operations and small-cut tactics should bring success to the Defense Forces.

Impact of sanctions on arms production in Russia

Let's talk about Russia's actions, weapons, and sanctions. Russia has managed to overcome the sanctions pressure and is now able to produce more missiles than before the large-scale invasion. This information was spread by The New York Times and has been discussed for several days. The question arises: how justified were such conclusions of American journalists and are the sanctions really so weak that the Russians manage to accumulate and increase the production of missile weapons and other types of equipment?

Anton Mikhnenko, Defense and Technology Expert at Defense Express, believes that the point is that Ukraine's partners should be more responsible in restricting Russia's access to the technologies they need. Ukrainian partners have mechanisms that can help tighten the screws to prevent microelectronics from getting to Russia first and foremost. However, the world is a market economy, and Russia exports certain goods through countries that are tolerant of it. It can be said that the countries of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia are intensively used for this purpose.

The Defense Express defense and technology expert added that there are rather slow mechanisms in both the US and the EU. Speaking about the United States, it is a certain legislative process that is also continuous, and arguments are needed to put a company under sanctions. The story is the same in the European Union. That is why Russia reacts to changes in the situation faster than the sanctions mechanisms that currently exist. In addition, it is necessary to strike not only at the key enterprises that manufacture the final product but also at small industries that work on individual parts or components. That is, the entire chain involved in the production of weapons must be disrupted.

Cooperation between Russia and the DPRK

Mikhnenko noted that according to the head of the Intelligence Directorate, it is known that the supply of ammunition from North Korea to Russia has been going on for almost a month. We are talking about 152 mm and 122 mm caliber ammunition. But we need to evaluate the events surrounding the economic forum that took place in Vladivostok with the participation of Putin and Kim Jong Un from several perspectives. The visit of the North Korean leader and his meeting with Putin is primarily aimed at hinting to the West that Putin is ready to do anything, including communicate with the DPRK. So this is a political gesture. Putin is really interested in the supply of ammunition to Russia from the DPRK, which has stockpiles and production. The Russian army has raked up almost everything that was in Russia's stockpile, and production does not allow it to meet the volume of demand that the Russian armed forces need today.

Russia is going to increase its own ammunition production to 2 million per year. Is this a lot or not? I would say that this means about 180,000 shells per month, or 6,000 ammunition per day. This figure looks much lower compared to what Russia was firing at its peak when it was about 60,000 per day. We can see that Russia's ammunition production capacity does not really meet its needs, and this is good.

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