Espreso. Global

War has come to Russia: raids by Ukraine-based Russian military volunteers, drone attacks in 10 regions. Serhiy Zgurets' column

13 March, 2024 Wednesday

On March 12, Ukrainian drones launched a major assault on various regions of Russia, while units from the Freedom of Russia Legion, Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Sibir Battalion crossed the Ukrainian-Russian border, entering the Kursk and Belgorod regions

On Russian volunteers' raids

Ukrainian drones inflicted the largest-scale attack on ten regions of Russia and oil refineries, and quite effectively. And units of the Freedom of Russia Legion, Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Sibir Battalion fighting on the side of Ukraine crossed the Ukrainian-Russian border today and entered the territory of the Kursk and Belgorod regions.

Later, the Freedom of Russia Legion published an appeal in which the military stated that they not only dream of liberating Russia from Putin's dictatorship, but also make every effort to realize their dream. The Russian military said that the legion is going to the polls, so “wait for us.” The Sibir Battalion also shared a video from the scene of the events. The soldiers of this battalion say that it is better to vote in the elections with combat caliber.

Then the Freedom of Russia Legion published two more new videos, which showed that the situation in the village of Tyotkino in the Kursk region was developing in favor of these units. It was said that Tyotkino is completely under the control of the Russian liberation forces. Putin's army, as it was emphasized, is rapidly fleeing from the village, leaving behind positions and abandoning heavy equipment. There was a video from Tyotkino that confirms that the hostilities on Russia's border with Ukraine are ongoing and will continue for some time. According to the scheme, it looks like traditional raid actions, which are carried out by units relying primarily on their own strength and capabilities, that is, what you come with - that's what you fight with.

Usually, this process takes from three days to a week, as was the case with the last raid. Let me remind you that Russian volunteers carried out a similar raid last year from approximately June 1 to June 5. Once again, there are no effective countermeasures by the Russian army on these sections of the border. The Russian army has already declared victory in its media, saying that as many as 100 enemy personnel, 6 tanks, and the Caesar self-propelled gun were destroyed. I don't know where they found these "Caesars" and 20 units of combat armored vehicles. Of course, this is a lie, because there aren't even any photos or videos.

At the same time, the HUR of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, which oversees the actions of all units formed from citizens of other states, commented rather discreetly on these events in Russia. It was said by the HUR spokesperson that it is about citizens of the Russian Federation, and these structures on the territory of Russia act autonomously and independently, fulfilling their socio-political tasks. Noting that they are at home after all. And this is not the first operation of these units on the territory of the Russian Federation. Now we can only talk about joint special operations of these adjacent units, this is how the Main Directorate of Intelligence commented on this story.

In any case, not everything is so unanimous with the elections in Russia. Certainly, this week units of the Freedom of Russia Legion, Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Sibir Battalion will continue their attacks, and this will be a rather resonant demonstration of the fact that there are movements that are really opposed to the Putin regime, which are ready to fight with weapons in their hands for a better future. And it will be against the background of the election of the main Russian criminal.

Ukrainian drones strike Russian territory

Today, Ukrainian drones launched attacks on several critical infrastructure sites across Russia, spanning 10 regions. This marks the largest attack in recent months. Notably, Lukoil, one of Russia's major oil refineries near Nizhny Novgorod, was significantly impacted. Situated approximately 800 km from the Ukrainian border, the drones targeted and destroyed crucial oil processing units, halting the refinery's operations. Lukoil processed 15 million tons of oil annually, accounting for over 5% of Russia's total refining capacity. 

Furthermore, other Russian facilities were targeted during the night, including an oil depot near Oryol. This ongoing trend underscores a deliberate strategy to disrupt Russia's critical infrastructure. The increased frequency and sophistication of these drone operations suggest advancements in the development, production, and utilization of long-range Ukrainian drones.

Regarding the Russian IL-76 incident

On the same day a military transport plane, an IL-76, crashed in Russia near Ivanovo after its engine caught fire. It had up to 15 people on board. Additionally, reports about the downing of a Russian military plane, Su-27, over Donetsk are being confirmed. Andriy Yusov from HUR provided this information. We await further updates on these developments. 

Discussing the enhancement of Armed Forces' internal reserves

Let's delve into our current situation and reserves. Mobilization isn't just about increasing personnel. It's also about optimizing existing resources, redistributing them as needed, and achieving better outcomes in unconventional ways because trying to match Russia in sheer numbers of soldiers or tanks is impractical and inappropriate.

Pavlo Kyshkar, Deputy Battalion Commander of the Armed Forces and Major, who heads the Defense Ministry's Accelerator Project Office, pointed out that while the country's security and defense structure has various scientific tools, unfortunately, like all other parts of the Armed Forces, our scientific units operate as if in peacetime. There hasn't been any fundamental change in their functioning. War, being a stressful situation, demands expedited processes and a focus on accountability and prompt decision-making. Unfortunately, our leading university hasn't evolved into a West Point equivalent. Anyone involved in training, whether at operational-tactical or strategic levels, will acknowledge that training is relative. At most, certain aspects that garner attention within the university seem to prioritize renovating facilities or bathrooms over the results of the work carried out by specific scientific units. Therefore, these units currently don't effectively support either the commander-in-chief or the commanding officers who are supposed to utilize these tools within the Armed Forces.

The deputy battalion commander of the Armed Forces highlighted that these units now serve as a mobilization reserve for the ground forces. It's no secret that entire units are often reassigned to combat brigades. Consequently, the structure of Territorial Defense brigades should encompass the early stages of pre-conscription training, beginning from the later years of schooling and extending to vocational and technical education, which should focus on training for unmanned aviation complex systems. This means that everyone enrolled in vocational education should attain relevant qualifications, whether as a drone operator, gunner, or in another role. The primary subdivisions of Territorial Defense can be formed based on specific territorial communities, aligning financial resources, responsibilities, and personnel under one umbrella. Developing a philosophy for Territorial Defense's evolution is essential to understanding how these units will integrate into the broader security and defense forces of the country even after the war ends.

In conclusion, echoing Pavel Kyshkar's sentiments, it's crucial to revisit these topics frequently. This ensures that the Ukrainian army doesn't become a replica of the Soviet army, but rather transforms into a new, formidable digital force capable of confronting a numerically superior enemy. We need to explore entirely different, effective foundations to enhance the efficiency of our army.

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