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Ukrainian missiles and UAVs bypass Russian air defence and hit targets in Crimea – ISW

Sunday, 7 January 2024, 02:58
Ukrainian missiles and UAVs bypass Russian air defence and hit targets in Crimea – ISW
Destruction of a Russian command point in Saky. Photo: Ukraine’s Air Force

According to data analysed by experts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian missiles and drones "are penetrating Russian air defences in occupied Crimea and have successfully struck some intended targets."

Source: ISW

Details: Ukrainian troops are conducting a multi-day campaign to strike Russian military facilities in occupied Crimea and have already successfully hit several targets throughout the peninsula.


The report recalls that Russian sources claim Ukrainian forces attacked an administrative building at a Russian airfield in occupied Saky (Crimea) with four Storm Shadow cruise missiles on the night of 5-6 January.

The Russian Defence Ministry said Russian forces destroyed five Ukrainian drones and four missiles over the Black Sea and Crimea on the night of 5-6 January, and six Ukrainian Neptune missiles over the northwestern Black Sea on 6 January.

The commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, thanked the Ukrainian pilots for the successful hits on the targets at Saky airfield, but did not specify whether he was talking about Ukrainian strikes on 4, 5 or 6 January.

In addition, Ukrainian officials and sources report that Ukrainian forces also struck an air defence radar system and communications centre in Yevpatoriia that was responsible for coordinating Russian air defence operations in occupied Crimea, as well as ammunition storage points near Pervomaiske (82 kilometres north of Simferopol), and a Russian command post near Sevastopol, starting on 4 January.

The analysts have concluded that Ukrainian and Russian reports have indicated that Ukrainian missiles and drones are penetrating the Russian air defence system in occupied Crimea and successfully hitting some of their intended targets.

A Kremlin-linked Russian millionaire has claimed that Ukrainian forces are launching strikes aimed at weakening Russia's air defence system over occupied Crimea.

ISW stated that currently it would not assess the purpose of the current Ukrainian campaign to strike areas in the Russian rear in occupied Crimea.

In the summer of 2023, Ukrainian forces conducted a strike campaign against Russian military infrastructure, headquarters, logistics routes and Black Sea Fleet facilities, which ousted Russian naval operations from the western Black Sea and aimed to weaken the Russians’ ability to use Crimea as a staging ground and rear for defensive operations in southern Ukraine.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 6 January:  

  • Ukrainian forces are conducting a multi-day strike campaign against Russian military targets in occupied Crimea and have successfully struck several targets throughout the peninsula.
  • A Russian military blogger argued that Russian forces need to improve planning and coordination at the tactical and operational levels so that Russian offensive operations can break out of the current positional warfare in Ukraine.
  • Western provision of air defence systems and missiles to Ukraine in the near- and medium-term remain crucial for Ukraine’s development of a defence industrial base (DIB) that can sustain Ukraine’s war effort against Russia in the long-term.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on 6 January.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) continues efforts to incentivize service with the Russian military by advertising support for housing.
  • Russian occupation authorities are struggling to provide basic services to residents of occupied areas of Ukraine.

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