Espreso. Global

HIMARS strike on occupied Skadovsk base deals significant blow to Russian FSB

10 November, 2023 Friday

In the protracted war of attrition planned by Russian leader Vladimir Putin against Ukraine and the West, the primary role might not be played by the army, but rather by the FSB, upon which Putin and his inner circle may place the highest hopes.

This morning's HIMARS missile strike on occupied Skadovsk resulted in the destruction of a facility used by the Russian FSB and the deaths of high-ranking Russian officers. This is one of those strikes that is recognized by the Russian-installed authorities, although they, of course, talk about a strike on residential areas and say nothing about representatives of the occupying security forces. However, the importance of this strike is that it reminds us that the occupiers cannot feel safe in the occupied territory of Ukraine.

The rule persists that the occupied territories of Ukraine, even if they are recognized in Moscow as so-called subjects of the Russian Federation, may be attacked with weapons supplied to Ukraine by its allies, unlike the sovereign territory of the Russian Federation. Therefore, there is no assurance of security in these territories for the Russian occupiers. All their bases, administrations, and military infrastructure can be destroyed by Ukrainian strikes at any time. Thus, the invaders no longer have any hope of strengthening Russian positions in the occupied territories of Ukraine. They have to concentrate their resources on the sovereign territory of the Russian Federation, which certainly does not improve the logistics of further military operations on the sovereign territory of Ukraine.

This is proved not only by the missile attacks on Russian military facilities in the Kherson region. The fate of the Russian Black Sea Fleet also proves this. In recent months, it has become absolutely clear that it is dangerous for Russian ships in the Black Sea to be in Sevastopol Bay. In other words, Vladimir Putin's efforts to turn Sevastopol into the main Russian naval base in the Black Sea and to control the entire sea basin with the help of this base have proved to be completely in vain.

Since the beginning of Russia's major invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has been losing one ship after another. At the same time, there is no way that Russia could significantly replenish its fleet due to the closure of the straits by Turkey under the Montreux Convention (the convention, that restored Turkey's sovereignty over the straits from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, which was adopted at the Conference on the Regime of the Black Sea Straits in 1936 in Montreux, Switzerland - ed.) Also, the Russian Federation has no real ability to repair already damaged ships at ship repair plants in Crimea itself. The attacks on such enterprises in Sevastopol and Kerch have once again reminded us that the Russian Black Sea Fleet cannot hope for any effective repairs.

And then there is what is happening to Russian troops in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The Russians have to move their naval forces to Novorossiysk Bay, which is not as protected as the bay in Sevastopol, and where the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet can become targets for Ukrainian underwater drones. This means that the Russians cannot hope for any serious deployment of a theater of operations at sea. And that is why, despite all attempts to impede the export of products through Ukraine's ports, Russia no longer has the total control over these ports that it actually had after February last year.

The strike on Skadovsk is also a reminder to the main Russian government, the FSB, that its officers cannot feel comfortable in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Obviously, the FSB is setting up its bases in the occupied territories not only to monitor the Ukrainian population where Russia has established its military control but also where it is take steps to integrate the occupied territories into Russia. That is, to turn the occupied lands into the same territory of terror and disrespect for human beings as the entire territory of Russia.

It is obvious that the FSB is also preparing sabotage and a destabilization program for Ukraine itself in the occupied territories. After all, in the protracted war of attrition planned by Russian leader Vladimir Putin against Ukraine and the West, the primary role might not be played by the army, but rather by the FSB, upon which Putin and his inner circle may place the highest hopes.

Of course, we do not know what the FSB officers were doing in Skadovsk. However, it is obvious that it was nothing good. It is obvious that they were closely monitoring the social and political situation in Ukraine. It is obvious that they were trying to destabilize the situation in the south of our country. After all, Vladimir Putin does not give up hope that he will be able to occupy new Ukrainian regions and return to his dream idea of Novorossiya, which he has been talking about since his Crimean speech in 2014.

However, this did not happen as expected. And these FSB officers, who can already be called killed during the successful operation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, and those FSB officers who will remain working in Skadovsk, are a completely different story of possibilities. Those who remain in the Kherson region will clearly understand that they are not in danger and that the facilities where they create opportunities for their sabotage activities are closely monitored from Ukraine. And that they are unable to keep the existence of these facilities secret and provide any security guarantees to those who come to the occupied Ukrainian territories to carry out sabotage and subversive activities.

Therefore, the HIMARS strike on the Skadovsk base is a real blow to the heart of the Russian security structure, to the Federal Security Service of Russia, to the very structure without which the formation of the Vladimir Putin regime would not have been possible, nor the formalization of the revanchist plans of this regime, and which also led to Russia's attack on Ukraine.


About the author. Vitaliy Portnikov, journalist, winner of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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