January 6, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Ukraine strikes Russian military targets in occupied Crimea

Institute for the Study of War

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. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces struck an administrative building at the Russian airfield in occupied Saky, Crimea with up to four Storm Shadow cruise missiles on the night of January 5 to 6. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces destroyed five Ukrainian drones and four missiles over the Black Sea and Crimea on the night of January 5 to 6 and six Ukrainian Neptune missiles over the northwestern Black Sea on January 6. Ukrainian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk thanked Ukrainian pilots for successfully striking targets at the Saky airfield but did not specify if he was referring to Ukrainian strikes on January 4, 5, or 6. Oleshchuk posted satellite imagery showing the target of the reported successful Ukrainian strike at the Saky airfield, although ISW is currently unable to identify what the target was. The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) stated on January 6 that the GUR, Ukrainian Air Force, and Ukrainian forces conducted a complex special operation that struck Russian radar positions at the Saky airfield and an equipment depot near Hryshyne (60km northeast of Yevpatoria) on January 4. GUR posted satellite imagery showing damage to the Russian ammunition depot near Hryshyne. Ukrainian officials and sources have reported that Ukrainian forces have also struck an air defense radar system and a communications center in Yevpatoria responsible for coordinating Russian air defense operations in occupied Crimea, ammunition warehouses near Pervomaiske (82km north of Simferopol), and a Russian command post near Sevastopol in strikes since January 4. Ukrainian and Russian reporting indicates that Ukrainian missiles and drones are penetrating Russian air defenses in occupied Crimea and have successfully struck some intended targets.

Key Takeaways:

  • 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 milblogger 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 defense systems and missiles to Ukraine in the near- and medium-term remain crucial for Ukraine’s development of a defense industrial base (DIB) that can sustain Ukraine’s war effort against Russia in the long-term.
  • The Danish Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on January 6 that it is delaying its first delivery of six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine for up to six months.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on January 6.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (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.

For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-january-6-2024

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