Ukraine’s attacks on Crimea’s air defenses could end its role as a Russian military staging ground: experts

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  • According to reports, Ukraine has intensified attacks on Russian air defenses in Crimea.

  • According to an American think tank, the attacks could make Crimea untenable as a military base.

  • But they are not a silver bullet to end Russia’s occupation of the region, experts say.

Ukraine’s continued attacks on Russian air defenses could make occupied Crimea untenable as a military staging area, war analysts say.

In a research On Thursday, the Institute for the Study of War think tank said Ukraine’s repeated attacks on military targets in the region forced Russia to implement new air defenses.

But further attacks could make it impossible for Russia to prepare or launch attacks from the annexed peninsula.

Ukraine has repeatedly hit Russian air defenses in Crimea have increased in recent months, with attacks intensifying this week.

According to reportsOn Sunday night, one Russian S-400 “Triumf” and two S-300 air defense missile systems were targeted, with suggestions that Ukraine was using US-supplied Army Tactical Missile Systems known as ATACMS.

Two days later, Ukraine launched another missile attack, hitting an S-300 missile system and two S-400 missile systems in Crimea, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said. said.

It declined to say what type of missiles were used, but the Institute for the Study of War said they were “probably” ATACMS.

The attacks appeared to show that Ukraine’s older, Western-supplied missiles can evade even Russia’s most advanced air defense systems, experts say. told BI this week.

Forbes came to a similar conclusion on Wednesday: proverb Russia’s S-400 missile systems cannot defend nearby Russian forces or even themselves.

The development could pose a major problem for Russia, which has used Crimea as a supply route to bring troops and equipment to the front lines in Ukraine.

There are already signs that the country is looking for it other routes.

Russia has also deployed an S-500 missile system in Crimea to protect air defenses, Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate, said. said this week, according to a translation from the ISW.

But despite Ukraine’s recent successes, its campaign of long-range airstrikes will not be the silver bullet that ends Russia’s occupation of Crimea, military experts told BI.

Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasian Program, told BI that Ukraine’s “slow-motion successes” with air and naval operations appear to be making the peninsula “less and less” tenable for Russian forces.

However, Giles said the limited information from open sources makes it difficult to assess Russia’s air defense capabilities and the extent to which Russian forces are exposed in the region.

“You get the impression that Russia continues to supply new systems to Crimea, and that they are being taken down as quickly as they are being set up,” he said. “But it takes a much more detailed assessment of what’s going on to actually determine the real picture.”

Matthew Savill, director of military sciences at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, said Crimea is largely beyond the reach of Ukrainian artillery, and even rocket artillery such as HIMARS.

He said Russia may have to make some tough decisions as it replaces lost air defenses, which could mean thinning defenses elsewhere, but airstrikes alone will not be enough to drive Russian forces out of Crimea.

“It would take significant Ukrainian ground pressure,” he said, “to create this kind of pressure.”

And given the tactical and political significance of Crimea, Russian forces “will not withdraw without a major battle,” he added.

“The kind of casualties they would have to suffer to even consider this could only be inflicted on their ground forces by a Ukrainian ground attack and a large amount of artillery or close range fire,” he said.

James Black, deputy director of defense research at RAND Europe, made a similar point, saying Russian forces are unlikely to withdraw from Crimea unless their position is made untenable.

“Crimea is clearly a key strategic and political priority for the Kremlin, and any withdrawal of Russian troops from the peninsula would be a serious embarrassment to President Putin and his military leadership, both at home and abroad,” he said.

Read the original article Business insider

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