The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said Ukrainian strikes on the Russian rear areas are worsening Russian troops’ morale, creating a probable threat to the stability of the Russian occupiers' defence in many critical areas of the combat zone.
Quote: "Russian frontline units, particularly in southern Ukraine, have frequently struggled with degraded morale following Ukrainian strikes on rear areas. Morale issues can quickly intensify and spread among Russian frontline units if one unit under pressure breaks, which could spread panic and significantly reduce the combat effectiveness of other Russian forces."
Details: The ISW reported that Russian milbloggers have criticised the Russian Defence Ministry (Russian MoD) for not taking actions to prevent a drone attack on the Soltsy airfield in Novgorod Oblast conducted on 19 August and downplaying the severity of damage to the aircraft that were deployed there.
"The Russian MoD claimed on 19 August that Russian forces shot down a Ukrainian drone using small arms and that a fire damaged one aircraft but that firefighters promptly put out the fire. Images published on 20 August reportedly show a Tu-22M3 (NATO reporting name Backfire-C) long-range supersonic bomber on fire at the Soltsy airbase. A Russian insider source claimed that witnesses said that fire damaged or completely destroyed two aircraft. Several Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces used a small and relatively inexpensive quadcopter drone to conduct the attack and criticised the Russian MoD for not storing the aircraft in hangars, noting that even elementary protective structures and nets are reliable against quadcopters."
The ISW believes that the damage or even the destruction of two Tu-22M3 aircraft in itself will not lead to significant military ramifications, but the reaction of Russian milbloggers to the attack demonstrates how such strikes in the rear areas have a positive effect for Ukraine's larger efforts to lower the morale of the Russian military.