Espreso. Global

Most massive strike on Russian targets in occupied Crimea and its details. Column by military expert Zgurets

22 September, 2023 Friday

Explosions were heard in Saky, Yevpatoria, Simferopol, Sevastopol, and Balaklava. The Russian military airfield near the city of Saky was struck. Pantsyr MANPADS, Su-24, and Su-30 aircrafts were based there

Missile attack on Ukraine

On September 21, Russia has once again confirmed its status as a terrorist state and a violator of all the rules and customs of warfare. At night, invaders massively attacked Ukraine with Kh-101 and Kh-555 air-launched cruise missiles. A total of 43 cruise missiles were recorded, which were launched from 10 strategic aircraft. Russian Tu-95s fired a monthly production rate of Kh-101 cruise missiles at Ukraine. Air defense units destroyed 36, which is almost 84%. And this is a good indicator, given that it was a tough attack.

There were several waves of missile launches. The missiles were maneuvering and constantly changing their course along the route. Let me remind you that a couple of days before, Russia massively used Shahed drones. This can also be related to an attempt to influence the effectiveness of Ukrainian air defense before the massive use of cruise missiles that were being amassed for this attack. Some missiles were in such a state that their warheads were almost falling off. On the Defence Express website, there is a video of a warhead from a Kh-101 missile that did not explode. It came off and did not detonate. This warhead was then taken to a safe place for destruction.

In some regions of Ukraine, infrastructure facilities, including energy facilities, were damaged. It was noted that this was the first Russian attack on the energy system in six months. It can be predicted that Russia will use cruise missiles to attack Ukraine's energy structure in winter and autumn. Therefore, the issue of strengthening air defense remains relevant. This is what Zelenskyy was talking about - the issue of air defense systems was raised in the talks with the American side.

Ukrainian Armed Forces strikes on Russian targets in Crimea

On September 21, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have also launched the most massive strike with unmanned aerial vehicles and Ukrainian missiles against military facilities in the currently occupied Crimea. We are talking about the explosions that took place in Saky, Yevpatoria, Simferopol, Sevastopol, and Balaklava. Explosions were heard everywhere. The Security Service and the Ukrainian Navy confirmed this massive attack on Crimea. Among other things, the military airfield in Saky was hit. At that time, Su-24 and Su-30 aircraft, as well as Pantsyr air defense systems, were based at this airfield.

According to Ukraine's military, there is also a Mohajer training base for operators. Mohajer is a UAV used for reconnaissance and strike missions. The Ukrainian side used drones and then Neptune cruise missiles. These missiles have been modified to strike on the ground. This is not the first time Neptune has been launched with such a land-based mission. It can be assumed that this missile has a range of up to 400 kilometers in the surface-to-surface version.

As for Russia's losses after the strikes on Crimea, the data is still being finalized. We know for sure that there are significant losses in manpower in addition to the losses the Russian forces suffered recently after a successful strike by Storm Shadow missiles on the command post of the Russian Black Sea Fleet near the occupied Sevastopol. Satellite imagery has already been released, showing that the Storm Shadow hits were quite accurate. The building was destroyed. We will expect data on casualties in the obituaries that will appear in Russian media.

New military aid package from the United States

In order to increase the number of strikes on the Russian enemy and make the pressure more effective, the United States announced a new military aid package for Ukraine. It is a package worth $325 million. First of all, it includes ammunition for artillery, HIMARS.

Mykhailo Samus, military expert, and director of the New Geopolitics Research Network, has his own hypothesis about the intensity of arms supplies to Ukraine, and it relates to the US election campaign. The election campaign is gaining momentum and this is having a direct impact on the decisions made by the Biden administration. There is more than a year left before the elections, which are important, so all decisions will be very carefully reviewed.

For example, it was interesting to see how the decision on the F-16 was made. Initially, they said that it would be a few months of English training, and then the pilots would master it. At that time, it was not clear how successful the Ukrainian offensive would be, and the American side wanted to stand aside from the events on the battlefield. As soon as it was reported that the Ukrainian army was breaking through Russia's main defense line in the south, the information that the F-16s would be there immediately followed. And English seemed to be unnecessary. And that these planes could be in Ukraine by Christmas or early 2024. That is, the situation is changing, and the Biden administration wanted to see the success of the Ukrainian army. And here we need to move on to more serious supplies. If the F-16s will be delivered in the winter, then the ATACMS missiles will be needed when the operation to liberate Crimea is being prepared. That is, Biden may not announce the provision of these missiles now, but Ukraine will receive a promise that as soon as the Ukrainian army is ready for operations to liberate Crimea, it will be provided with such missiles.

In addition, the director of the New Geopolitics Research Network believes that the appointment of a new Ukrainian Defense Minister shows that President Zelenskyy is not clinging to individual functionaries or officials. He is ready for changes, new ideas, and approaches to formulate defense policy and the functioning of the Ministry of Defense itself. The new Defense Minister is already taking steps to work synergistically with the Ministry of Strategic Industry. This is very important to build an effective system where the Ministry of Defense is the leader and the Ministry of Strategic Industry coordinates the activities of defense enterprises. Obviously, 2024 will be crucial in terms of successful operations.

The military expert noted that, as for the duration of the war, discussions among European and American bureaucracies about supporting Ukraine indicate that funds will be planned for periods of 6-7 years. Americans and Europeans are ready to allocate sufficient funds in the budget to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. When Ukraine moves to long-term planning, it has the opportunity to produce larger volumes of weapons, ammunition, and systems, i.e. to provide the Armed Forces with everything they need to continue the war against Russia.

Samus spoke about the definition of war. The fact is that even the liberation of all the Ukrainian territories, the restoration of territorial integrity, will not mean Russia's surrender. Russia will be ready to continue the war, and in this case, NATO representatives are absolutely right to understand that Ukraine can clear its territory, but Russia will retain the potential to strike Ukraine and even the territory of the Alliance. In this case, it is necessary to be prepared to expand the capabilities of NATO countries. After all, Ukraine is now supported by missile defense and air defense systems, and NATO countries themselves, for example, on the eastern flank, do not reach the Ukrainian level. This requires a lot of planning and spending of funds. Therefore, in his opinion, it is positive that there is no discussion about the reversal of programs in Ukraine and the freezing of the conflict. On the contrary, they are ready to support Ukraine, even if Ukraine clears the occupied territories, including Crimea, in 2024, and then the US-European defense sphere will be strengthened to keep putting pressure on Russia. That is, to achieve Russia's defeat.

Mr. Samus summarized that Ukraine's victory may come next year, but Russia's defeat cannot. Because Russia's defeat will occur when Putin's regime, which still has a fairly strong potential, is destroyed.

The impact of the election campaign in Poland on relations with Ukraine

The analyst added: "There are too many emotions and politics involved in today's relations between Poland and Ukraine. Now the Polish Defense Minister has started to comment on grain and flour, which means that he is clearly acting as a politician in the election campaign, and this has nothing to do with aid. In addition, Poland said it was continuing to fulfill contracts. Most likely, this issue will be resolved after the elections, and in the coming days, the grain issue will be resolved as well. The main thing is that we and the Poles and Slovaks resume a normal dialog and remove this political aspect. In fact, the election campaign explains a lot.

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