So far in this war Ukraine has proven adept at long-range strikes against targets beyond its limits.
From the sinking of the warship Moskva in the Black Sea to internal attacks Russia on railway lines and at the Belgorod fuel depot, allegedly by Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, Kiev’s armed forces have proven brave, operationally sound and risk-aware.
Russia has preferred to continue with more predictable tactics.
Moscow’s tank-led advance, increasingly suffering from logistical support and loot of anti-tank weapons supplied by Western donors, has been aided by long-range missile attacks that have brought such misery to Ukrainian civilians.
This strategy has failed in the north and is likely to result in a frustrating and costly stalemate in Donbass.
In contrast, two strikes on Sunday have brought renewed focus to apparent Ukrainian missile attacks and possible covert operations inside Russia.
The blasts around 2 a.m. Moscow time sparked large fires at the Transneft Bryansk-Druzhba facility in Bryansk, a regional capital about 110 km from the Ukrainian border, which is owned by oil pipeline company Transneft.
Russian state television said the first blast occurred at a civilian facility containing about 10,000 tons of fuel. The second explosion, some 15 minutes later, was believed to have been caused by a missile attack on the 120th Main Missile and Artillery Directorate.
There was no official response from Ukraine, but it was suspected that at least one of the facilities was hit by a Tochka-U ballistic missile, an aging Soviet weapon operated by both countries. Bryansk is well within reach of the Tochka-U.
The attack coincided with reports from the governor of Russia’s Kursk region that air defense systems shot down two Ukrainian drones in the sky over the village of Borovskoye, about halfway between Bryansk and Belgorod, the scene of the April 1 attack.
If operated by Kiev’s armed forces, they could have conducted a reconnaissance of the area or examined Russian air defenses, which have proven less secure than Moscow would like.
Any potential mission shows Ukraine’s confidence and willingness not to be constrained by the Kremlin’s warning of escalating measures. After all, they are fighting for the existence of their country.
Bryansk, some 100 km inside Russia from Ukraine’s northern border, would probably be too far away for drones in Ukraine’s arsenal. It is more likely that the attacks were carried out with missiles or helicopter gunships.
It is also worth noting that the death toll from last Thursday’s fire that destroyed the Central Research Institute of the Russian Air and Space Forces in Tver, 180 km northwest of Moscow, has risen to 17. This facility is considered central to the development of ballistic missiles like the Iskander, which have caused so much suffering to civilians in Ukraine.
We will probably never know for sure whether these events were accidents, sabotage by disgruntled Russian citizens, or covert operations by Ukrainian forces.
Kyiv has demonstrated an impressive level of operational security and has preferred not to bask in the brief glory of military success, but it does have several units that could have been stationed in Russia.
The military’s SSO, or Special Operations Forces, was reorganized into a single Special Operations Directorate within the Department of Defense in 2016. Your command is based on the British SAS and the US Navy Seals.
Alfa, a unit of the Ukrainian security service SBU, has its roots in the Soviet special forces of the same name. It has been used domestically to fight organized crime, but also in military operations.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy knows that he is unlikely to win a direct war with Russia.
Despite the influx of gear from the west, the numbers just aren’t there and are unlikely to be anytime soon. A chaotic and unsatisfactory standoff is becoming increasingly likely.
All of these deep raids have so far had both tactical military and strategic intelligence successes.
However, it is a fine decision for Kyiv to make as to which ones might be considered fair game militarily and which ones to highlight shortcomings in the Russian military.
Wladimir Putins ego is fragile and he has shown a propensity to lash out – usually at the expense of Ukrainian civilians – when his security and defense facilities are compromised. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/ukraines-long-range-attacks-highlight-a-fragility-in-russias-armour-but-such-tactics-are-unlikely-to-win-kyiv-the-war-41587396.html Ukraine’s long-range attacks show a fragility in Russia’s armor, but such tactics are unlikely to win Kyiv the war