Espreso. Global

Where Russians witnessed explosions last week: "Pantsirs", Crimea, and fire in Moscow

8 January, 2024 Monday

This week, Ukraine's Defence Intelligence destroyed two Russian Pantsir missile systems in Belgorod region, the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck at the Saki airfield in the temporarily occupied Crimea, and a fire in Moscow left three districts without heating and electricity at -30°C


More about explosions in Russia and the temporarily occupied territories in Espreso's weekly review.

Attacks on the Belgorod region with significant destruction, a fire in Moscow and a burned Su-34 in Chelyabinsk

  • On the evening of Tuesday, January 2, the Russians claimed to have shot down nine air targets over the Belgorod region and Belgorod. "Nine air targets were shot down on the approach to the city. Operational services are clarifying information about the consequences. There are damages in the private sector in the city - windows were smashed in 3 households. A gas pipe and one car were also damaged. In the Belgorod district, three households have damaged roofs. The information is being clarified," the statement reads.
  • On the morning of Wednesday, January 3, Russia reported that the Kursk region was shelled, allegedly damaging a power substation. According to Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit, a substation in the Zheleznogorsk district of the region was damaged after an alleged air attack from Ukraine. This caused a power outage in residential buildings in several settlements. In addition, a heating main broke in Zheleznogorsk due to a power surge and water hammer. Heating was cut off in 17 apartment buildings. The governor added that the damage is being fixed.

  • On the morning of January 4, a substation in Moscow caught fire, leaving three districts without electricity and heating. The temperature outside was -27°C, and the temperature in the apartments was only dropping. At that time, Bybirevo, Altufievo and Otradnoe were left without electricity and heat. The cause of the fire is unknown. On that day, Telegram channels unanimously stated that Moscow was experiencing "historic frosts," and the temperature in apartments had dropped to 10-15°C. Russians complained in the comments about cold radiators.

  • On the night of January 4, a Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber burned down at the Shagol airfield in Chelyabinsk. This information was confirmed by Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence which pointed out that the warplane belonged to the aviation regiment of the  21st Combined Air Division of the Russian Air and Space Force and published a video of the fire, adding that the cause was unknown. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian media, citing their sources in the intelligence services, noted that it was a HUR operation.

  • On the evening of January 4, residents of the city of Belgorod heard explosions. The authorities reported an attack by missiles and drones and allegedly successful air defense. Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said that air defense was operating in the area of Belgorod. According to him, 10 air targets were allegedly shot down in the region. Two people were wounded. There was also damage. "One of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' shells landed directly in a residential yard in Belgorod's suburbs. The explosion overturned a car. The windows of the residents' apartments were shattered. No injuries were reported," the Telegram channels wrote. The Ukrainian Armed Forces' Stratcom Telegram channel also confirmed the damage to a Russian military facility in Crimea. "Today at about 3 p.m., the Ukrainian Armed Forces hit Russian troops' command post near Sevastopol," the post read.

  • The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine conducted a special operation in the Belgorod region. The Intelligence noted that due to the increasing sabotage cases by the Russian Federation and to protect Ukrainian civilians living in communities near the state border and suffering from Russian attacks, Ukrainian reconnaissance men mined the only road used by Russians in this area and attacked a Russian platoon stronghold.  "The enemy suffered losses as a result of a fire attack involving small arms and mortars, as well as an explosion on Ukrainian mines. The number of killed and wounded occupants is being clarified," the Intelligence added.

  • On Saturday, January 6, Ukrainian reconnaissance soldiers destroyed two Russian Pantsyr missile systems in Belgorod region. These are estimated at $10-15 million per unit. "As part of a complex mission implemented with the assistance of the United24 platform, Ukrainian military intelligence operators attacked Russian air defense positions in the Belgorod region," the statement said.

Photo: from social media

Destruction of unfinished railway bridge in Mariupol and explosions in temporarily occupied Crimea

  • Almost at midnight on January 3, explosions were heard in the temporarily occupied Sevastopol. The Russian appointees stated that a missile was shot down over the Black Sea. "According to preliminary information, a missile was shot down over the water area. According to the information from the Sevastopol rescue service, no damage to the infrastructure was recorded," wrote the so-called Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev.

  • Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Armed Forces confirmed the next day that military targets in Crimea were hit. In particular, it was Yevpatoria and Sevastopol.

  • Meanwhile, the following day, the commander of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, confirmed that military targets in Crimea had been hit. In particular, it was Yevpatoria and Sevastopol. Earlier, Krymskiy Veter cited eyewitnesses as saying that a military air defense unit in the area of Zatyshne near Yevpatoriya (Saky district) had been hit. A day later, representatives of the Atesh guerrilla movement reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had hit a Russian radar. On the morning of Saturday, January 6, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk confirmed the information about the Ukrainian Armed Forces strikes on the Saky airfield in the temporarily occupied Crimea, where another Russian command post was located.

  • On the evening of January 4, explosions were heard in Crimea again. In particular, local Telegram channels reported on blasts and air defense operations in western Crimea. They also reported explosions in the Crimean Bridge and Novorossiysk area. The gunfire could be heard everywhere, presumably air defense. The Russian forces also blocked traffic on the Crimean Bridge for an hour. Around midnight, traffic on the bridge resumed.

  • And on Saturday, January 6, near the temporarily occupied Mariupol in Donetsk region, Ukrainian troops destroyed a Russian-built railway bridge. Fuel tanks and Russian engineering vehicles were also burned. According to Andriushchenko, the Russians tried to shoot down the missiles that attacked the bridge, but to no avail. In addition, by attempting to shoot down air targets, the Russian forces gave away their new air defense batteries in the Mariupol region. "Now the issue of launching a direct railroad from Russia is closed for a long time," the mayor's advisor emphasized.

Expert opinions

Glen Grant, a retired British Army colonel and military expert, suggested that if it is possible to hit distant Russian targets, the aim should be at specific targets whose destruction will directly affect the war.

“ But if we can fire long range, then it must be against things that are actually going to help us directly. Not just something that is going to make a small change. Obviously the biggest things are those in Crimea. The boats like the ship that has just been killed and the bridge. Those are the things that have got to be destroyed because cutting off Crimea changes the whole geopolitical situation for Russia. Attacking another fuel dump behind the lines in Russia is probably not going to make much difference to our front line. So we've got to do things that are actually going to bring us big wins and realistic wins to change the battle, not just hitting anything,” says the military expert.”


Meanwhile, British intelligence is convinced that three Russian Su-34 combat fighters were shot down in the southern part of the frontline, which affected the operations of Russian troops on the left bank of the Kherson region.

“In recent days, Russia has again increased tactical air strikes around the bridgehead, but at a lower level than before the shootdowns.This once again demonstrates that Russia’s inability to establish air superiority in the early stages of the Russia-Ukraine war continues to undermine their daily operations.”


In addition, according to Natalia Humeniuk, head of the Joint Coordination Press Center of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the South, the military identified weaknesses in Russian air defense.

"We understand that the air defense system of the Crimean peninsula in particular, which they were so proud of, which they were so solemnly deploying, is gradually being phased out because it has a dull choice - there is a hole here and a hole there and you have to repair it," the military explains.”

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