Ukrainian forces carried out a complex attack against a Russian-held airfield in occupied Crimea on Thursday, The Kyiv Post reported. The country’s intelligence service, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), used drones to confuse the Russian air defenses around the base located in Saki, Crimea.
“Missile strikes are being launched on the military facilities of the invaders in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Crimea,” Andriy Yusov, spokesman for the Directorate of Military Intelligence of Ukraine (HUR), told The Kyiv Post.
That created gaps exploited by Ukraine’s Neptune anti-ship missiles were able to destroy 12 Su-24 and Su-30 fighters that were on the tarmac at the base. A Russian Pantsir air-defense system was destroyed as was a training facility for using the Iranian Mohajer-6 UAV.
Ukraine hopes to use unconventional warfare tactics to degrade Russia’s military infrastructure in Crimea. Unconfirmed reports stated that high-ranking Russian military leaders had met there.
“The strike was carried out after the SBU verified the data that the commanders of the enemy fleet were indeed [present] in the military unit,” they told Kyiv Post.
An estimated 30 Russian service personnel were killed.
“As for the tactics that the Ukrainian army is now implementing in relation to the temporarily occupied Crimea and Sevastopol, this is the preparation of the future battlefield,” Ukrainian military expert Vladislav Seleznyov told Ukraine’s Channel 24.
Black Sea Fleet Headquarters Hit
Ukraine also hit the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet located in Crimea on Friday in a reportedly SBU-managed operation. Russia claimed that there were at least six victims. Unconfirmed reports suggested that Admiral Viktor Sokolov, commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleets was among them.
The Ukrainian armed forces released a statement saying “around 12:00, the Ukrainian defense forces successfully struck the command headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in temporarily-occupied Sevastopol,” The Washington Post reported.
Ukraine Vows More Attacks in Crimea
Ukraine promises to keep up its unconventional warfare against Russia in Crimea.
“We promised that ‘there will be more,’” Mykola Oleschuk, the air force commander, posted on social media. “So, while the occupiers are recovering in Melitopol, and air alarms are still sounding in Sevastopol, I thank the pilots of the Air Force once again!”
“All missiles were intercepted!” Oleschuk continued, with evident sarcasm. “I hope that next time Russian air defense will again not let us down.”
Ukrainian Saboteurs Strike Airfield Near Moscow
The Ukrainians have also carried out sabotage operations inside Russia.
Ukraine’s HUR announced an operation at the Chkalovsky Air Base on Telegram. HUR stated that the attack generated “quite a bit of hysteria.”
“Unknown saboteurs… planted explosives and detonated AN-148 and IL-20 aircraft (both belong to the 354th special purpose aviation regiment) at the airfield, which is carefully guarded, as well as the MI-28N [Havoc] helicopter, which was actively involved in shooting down attack drones over Moscow region.”
Russia’s “Flying Kremlin” doomsday plane that would serve as Vladimir Putin’s flying command post in the event of a nuclear war is parked at this base.
Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took off from the Chkalovsky Air Base in 1968 for his ill-fated training flight in a MiG-15UTI that crashed after takeoff.
Russians Killing Russians For Cash
Russian soldiers have been recruited into the ranks of Ukrainian partisans and have been killing their comrades in exchange for cash. In one case documented by The Kyiv Post noted that a “Russian soldier allegedly placed 10 kilograms of explosives between two trucks at a military base in the occupied city of Henichesk, in Kherson region at the border with the Crimean Peninsula.”
While Ukraine’s conventional offensive stands ground to a halt, it appears that Ukraine is willing to use any means necessary to deliver pain to the Russians. The spy war seems to be one of the hidden but crucial fronts in this war.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.