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Missiles and drones successfully penetrate Russian air defense in Crimea: ISW assesses Ukraine's strike campaign

ISW assesses Ukraine's strike campaign against Russian military targets in Crimea

Ukrainian forces conducted a multi-day strike campaign against Russian military facilities in the temporarily occupied Crimea, successfully hitting several targets across the peninsula on January 5-6. This suggests that Ukrainian missiles and drones are capable of penetrating enemy air defenses.

Obviously, the campaign is aimed at reducing the combat capability of the Russian Armed Forces to use Crimea as a bridgehead and rear for defense operations in the south. This conclusion was reached by analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

They recalled how on the night of January 5-6, Ukrainian forces struck an administrative building at the Saki military airfield in the temporarily occupied Novofedorivka (Crimea) with four Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that during the attack, its air defense system "destroyed five drones and four missiles" over the Black Sea and the peninsula, as well as "six Neptune missiles" over the northwestern part of the sea.

However, Ukraine confirmed successful strikes on Russian military targets at the airfield near Saki. The commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, thanked the Ukrainian pilots, although he did not specify whether he was referring to the Ukrainian strikes on January 4, 5, or 6.

On January 6, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry clarified that the Main Directorate of Intelligence, the Air Force, and the Armed Forces conducted a complex special operation during which on January 4 they struck Russian radar positions at the Saki airfield and a military depot near Hryshyne (60 km north of Yevpatoriya).

Missiles and drones successfully penetrate Russian air defense in Crimea: ISW assesses Ukraine's strike campaign

The Main Directorate of Intelligence published satellite images showing damage to a Russian ammunition depot near Hryshyn. Officials and sources said that Ukrainian forces struck an air defense radar system and a communications center in Yevpatoriya responsible for coordinating Russian air defense operations in Crimea, as well as ammunition depots near Pervomaiske (82 km north of Simferopol) and a Russian command post near Sevastopol.

"Both Ukrainian and Russian reports indicate that Ukrainian missiles and drones are penetrating Russian air defenses in the temporarily occupied Crimea and successfully hitting some targets," ISW noted.

The analysts drew attention to the reaction of a well-known Russian blogger with ties to the Kremlin, who said that Ukrainian forces were conducting strikes aimed at weakening Russian air defense over Crimea. However, ISW decided not to assess the intentions of the current Ukrainian strike campaign against Russia's rear on the seized peninsula.

Missiles and drones successfully penetrate Russian air defense in Crimea: ISW assesses Ukraine's strike campaign

They only reminded that in the summer of 2023, Ukraine conducted a strike campaign against Russian military infrastructure, headquarters, logistics routes and facilities of the Black Sea Fleet, which drove Russian naval operations out of the western part of the Black Sea.

"The campaign was aimed at reducing the combat capability of the Russian armed forces to use Crimea as a bridgehead and rear for defense operations in southern Ukraine," the analysts said.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, the representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine Andriy Chernyak said that the latest strikes on the occupiers in Crimea are only part of a broader plan and a single plan of Ukraine to liberate the peninsula. According to him, they remind the enemy that he is temporarily on Ukrainian territory, and also encourage Ukrainians under occupation to continue to believe in victory over Russia.

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