Espreso. Global

Drone strikes in Kursk, attack on Sochi airport, and other incidents in Russia over week

1 October, 2023 Sunday

Throughout the week, Kursk remained a target for Ukrainian drones, causing damage to the Interior Ministry building and power outages in nearby villages, while various regions in Russia and occupied Crimea experienced explosions

Read more about the unrest in Russia and the temporarily occupied territories in Espreso's weekly review.

Strikes on Kursk, the Ministry of Internal Affairs building, and explosions in Sochi

Throughout the week, the Kursk region endured drone attacks that disrupted power substations and left the population without power. The Ministry of Internal Affairs building in Kursk was also targeted. Furthermore, explosions were reported in several Russian regions near the Ukrainian border, and on Sunday, October 1, a drone reached the Russian resort city of Sochi.

  • On the morning of Monday, September 25, explosions were heard in the Russian city of Kursk. There, Russian air defense allegedly shot down two Ukrainian drones. Later, another drone allegedly went down in the Kursk region. Authorities reported air defense operations and drones hitting private homes and an administrative building; the Ukrainian intelligence said they hit the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

  • The same night, two more drones were allegedly shot down over the Bryansk region. Also on the eve of Sunday evening, September 24, the Russian Defense Ministry announced an alleged attack by a Ukrainian drone on the Bryansk region of the Russian Federation. 

  • And on the evening of September 25, Russia reported a massive attack on the Belgorod and Kursk regions, allegedly shooting down 7 Ukrainian drones, and 4 more over the Kursk region. 

  • The next day, on September 26, a Ukrainian drone reportedly dropped explosives on a power substation in the Kursk region, leaving 7 settlements without power. This information was confirmed by the Security Service of Ukraine. 

  • On Friday, September 29, the Kremlin again accused Ukraine of attacking the Kursk region with drones. Governor Roman Starovoyt said that a Ukrainian drone dropped two explosive devices on a substation in the village of Belaya, Belyovsky district. As Ukrainska Pravda later reported, citing sources in the SBU, Ukrainian drones successfully attacked a power substation. It noted that important Russian military facilities were connected to this substation. 

  • On the morning of Sunday, October 1, Russia accused Ukraine of shelling the central market in Shebekino, Belgorod region, which allegedly injured 3 people. They also reported a drone attack on the territory of the Krasnodar Krai, where Russian air defense allegedly shot down one drone. Another 3 drones were allegedly destroyed over the territory of the Smolensk region, and local authorities urged residents not to leave their homes unless necessary. 

  • In addition, an "unknown object" crashed on the territory of Sochi International Airport. Local Telegram channels reported that a loud explosion was heard in the city in the morning and a column of smoke rose. Because of this, all flights were canceled and six planes were redirected to another airfield.

Drone attacks on the Belbek airfield and missiles over Dzhankoi

In Crimea, Russian forces faced unrest, with drones and missiles being deployed in Sevastopol, near the Belbek airfield, and in Dzhankoi. Russian invaders have been making efforts to defend against Ukrainian drone strikes, leading to the redeployment of air defense systems and the construction of new defenses in the region.

According to the National Resistance Center, amid successful attacks by the Ukrainian military on the temporarily occupied Crimea, Russians began to strengthen the defense of the peninsula, including the deployment of air defense systems and the construction of new defenses. 

Besides, most of the employees of the pseudo-authorities of the temporarily occupied Crimea had switched to working from home because of the threat of Ukrainian strikes. After a series of attacks on military facilities on the occupied peninsula, including a strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Russians began detaining local residents on suspicion of espionage every day.

Expert opinions

Political analyst Volodymyr Tsybulko said on Espreso TV that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will soon be able to destroy Russian airfields in Crimea with ATACMS, which will open up new prospects for the Ukrainian offensive. He noted that after the US announced the supply of ATACMS, it turned out that these were cluster ATACMS, which are extremely necessary for the frontline operations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It is important that these missiles can hit airfields. 

"The absence of enemy aircraft at the front is a great opportunity for the Ukrainian offensive. Most likely, if Russia does not withdraw its airplanes and helicopters in the near future, they will all be shot down. This means that the Crimean airfields will be excluded," said Volodymyr Tsybulko.”

According to Serhiy Zgurts, Defense Express CEO, Ukraine will need ATACMS to cover those parts of the front and Russia’s efforts to defend itself against HIMARS with a range of 80 km. Even a hundred of these missiles at the first stage will significantly reduce the stability of Russian supply, the expert says. 

On September 28, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine was discussed during a meeting between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US President Joe Biden, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week.

Oleksandr Kovalenko, a military and political observer at the Information Resistance group, pointed out that Russia is facing challenges due to the lack of adequate airfields and ports capable of accommodating military aircraft and ships, leaving them with limited options. He mentioned that the only alternative for the Russians might be to withdraw toward the Caspian Sea, but even there, not all ports can accommodate a large number of warships.

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