Espreso. Global

Ukraine strikes more than 100 times per day at Russian frontline facilities - military expert Serhiy Zgurets

29 May, 2023 Monday

The number of Ukraine's strikes on enemy targets at the frontline with the supply of British Storm Shadow missiles has increased to more than 100 per day


Ukraine's strikes against Russia

It's time to take back what's ours. The eloquent address of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi with this phrase and the emotional video with a prayer for the liberation of Ukraine can certainly be perceived as a sign of the long-awaited spring-summer offensive, for which the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been preparing for a long time. But is this really the case? There is no single answer, as the stage of misleading the enemy is still underway. In the fog of war, Ukraine is using psychological influence on the enemy and specific actions on the front line to weaken Russia's defense and push it to make mistakes and certain decisions. The immediate significance of certain events implemented by the Ukrainian Armed Forces will become clear only later, when the offensive takes on certain features. Then it will be possible to assess more deeply the significance of the long and exhausting defense of Bakhmut, what is happening now in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, and the RVC's raids in the Belgorod region. There are markers that are directly related to the formation of the battlefield not only in a psychological sense but also in a military sense. For example, the Economist summarized the number of strikes from Ukraine's artillery and long-range systems on enemy targets behind the front line during the week.

The data was received with the help of NASA satellites, which pass over each section of the front twice a day with thermal sensors. Between May 11 and 25, there were 4 times as many attacks on enemy targets along the entire front line as there were 2 weeks earlier. At the same time, the number of attacks is the highest since August 2, 2022: more than 100 per day. The increase began on May 11, with the delivery of British Storm Shadow missiles. Ukraine is hitting logistics and command posts far beyond the front line in all areas. Russia's defense is weakening, but it does not allow us to determine the direction of further actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, so the fog of war remains. The liberation of Ukrainian  territories will require the courage and professionalism of its soldiers, and their support with a powerful arsenal of weapons, as is the case, in particular, in and around Bakhmut.


Situation in the Bakhmut direction

According to officials, the dynamics of the fighting has somewhat decreased. The former commander of the Azov regiment and acting commander of the 3rd Brigade, Maksym Zhorin, said that in Ukraine’s main task is to hold its positions, while on the flanks we are advancing. For almost 2 weeks, the 3rd Brigade has been engaged in active offensive operations on the southern flank and has been doing so quite successfully, despite the fact that we are not comparable to Russia in terms of personnel, equipment, artillery, and aviation, but we are able to drive the enemy out of their positions and advance. However, we need some time to regroup after these heavy battles, which came at a great cost. Russia has begun to adapt a little bit. We need to find the enemy's weaknesses, and we can see them. After that, we will continue to advance, approaching the encirclement of Bakhmut step by step. There is a major difference between Wagner PMC and regular Russian troops: Wagner PMC fighters are specialized in assaults and advancement, while they are quite poor at defense. Regular troops are better suited to systemic defense and have been very poor at assault operations. Changes are taking place. Russia is bringing in new units, both replacement and reserves, which are trying to stabilize the situation and stop the Ukrainian army. There were paratroopers who had previously fought near Kakhovka and in the Kyiv region. The difference will be noticeable, but the Ukrainian Armed Forces can hear and see the enemy and find its weaknesses, as it is very important to save lives and reduce risks for personnel. But we will advance, no matter what Russian units enter.


The uniqueness of the 3rd Brigade's training

The brigade has learned from Azov's experience in many aspects. Many of the officers who command and serve in the 3rd Brigade had previously served in Azov. They brought a lot of training experience, including moral and psychological training. Preparation is crucial on the battlefield. Even when there is heavy fighting, the brigade must pay attention to combat training, because you cannot send a person who does not know how to defend themselves or provide medical care to those around them. Even on the front line, they find opportunities to train and improve the skills of the personnel near the fighting. Recruits are trained in a separate place and then sent to the front line. Without assault infantry, there will be no de-occupation of the territory. It cannot be liberated by missiles, bombs, aircraft, drones. Only people can gain a foothold there. It is thanks to them that it is possible to do this. But the brigade is thinking about how to reduce the risks for the soldiers, so they use modern methods of warfare and drones. This is combined into a system that can reduce the risks, in particular, for the assault infantry. Any training will only partially ensure readiness for what awaits you, and the rest - the battlefield and an experienced commander by your side - is what will teach you, give you confidence and knowledge of what to do.


Russia changes tactics for strikes against Ukraine

On the night of May 28, Russia launched its most massive strike with Iranian “kamikaze” drones against Ukraine. The enemy fired 58 barrage munitions, the lion's share of which were aimed at Kyiv. Out of 59, 58 were shot down. Oleksandr Kovalenko, coordinator of the Information Resistance group, noted that it was a record attack with Shaheds. In May, Russia launched its third record attack: first 35, 36 drones, and now 54 drones. We see an upward trend. Russia used other routes and flight paths to maximize the effectiveness of attacks, destroy some object and bypass our air defense. Since April 28, Russians have been detecting our air defense positions, conducting missile and drone attacks almost every day. Our air defense system is mobile, Russia has been creating a map of its location, forming new trajectories, starting to use them, but less than 5% of them reach their ephemeral target. Russians are changing their tactics and have been trying to divert the attention of our air defense by regular strikes on Ukraine's rear since early May. The Russian command believes that the air defense will take part in the offensive in the near future, so they are trying to put pressure on the rear to keep the air defense in combat mode. As early as 2022, some of the Shaheds that were shot down and retained their integrity had GLONASS units, a Russian copy of GPS. This improvement was made to increase the controlled flight distance and accuracy of the drones. This cannot be prevented. Iran, despite decades of sanctions, was able to implement a “kamikaze” drone program. Despite their primitive nature, they pose a serious threat and have a fairly powerful warhead. It is impossible to prevent them. Our international partners cannot neutralize production in Iran, and it is located underground. To prevent it, we need specific destruction elements, such as anti-bunker bombs. We need to enter Iranian airspace or conduct a ground operation. No one will do this.


Progress in the development of Ukrainian drones

To date, Oleksandr Kovalenko has not seen these drones used in combat. In 2020, we came to conclusions about what a drone could look like, what is used to create it, and its bases. Perhaps it is quite promising, but we have not seen it used in real combat conditions. This project is at the testing stage. We are waiting for them to be used. Given that Russia still demonstrates large gaps in its air defense, these drones, if mass-produced, will be used constantly and will be really effective.


Results of the attack on Russia’s Ivan Khurs ship 

We need to improve the contact training of the combat unit of Ukrainian drones. If the Ivan Khurs ship is really in Sevastopol, it did not work. We also need to use unmanned surface boats more effectively at night. There are 2 ships of the project, like the Ivan Khurs, in service in Russia. They were built in 20 years, which makes them so unique. It was possible to deal a serious blow not only technically but also reputationally. But the ship is armed mainly with a machine gun and does not have enough means to counter boats. The attack would have been much more effective at night. On the other hand, it was in the morning when the ship was crossing the Bosphorus and entering the Black Sea. It was attacked at that time, reacting as quickly as possible to the possibility of a strike. This is a plus. Another advantage is that no Russian ship can feel safe in the Black Sea. We need to work on the implementation of some aspects, but over time it will come and the efficiency of such attacks will increase.

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