16 missiles fired: 450,000 liters of aviation fuel were burned

Recently, Kharkiv has become a key area in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Russian Northern Army has launched a significant attack here, making some progress. However, with this new focus on Kharkiv, Ukraine has also increased its attacks toward Crimea, achieving significant successes. 

16 missiles fired: 450,000 liters of aviation fuel were burned
Photo credit: Sohu

In a surprising move, Reuters reports that the Ukrainian forces used long-range missiles to strike a Russian air defense base in Crimea. This attack destroyed the base’s radar and killed its commander, Colonel Alexander. 

With the Russian radar out of the way, the Ukrainian military then used U.S.-supplied ATACMS “Army Tactical Missiles” to target the Russian Belbek Air Base on the Crimean Peninsula. This strike not only destroyed several Russian fighter jets but also ignited a large fuel depot, resulting in the loss of 450,000 liters of aviation fuel.

16 missiles fired: 450,000 liters of aviation fuel were burned
Photo credit: Sohu

Maxar tracked the attack

Maxar, an American company, used its satellites to monitor a major attack by the Ukrainian army. The images show where the ATACMS missile hit. In this attack, one MiG-31 heavy interceptor and three Su-27 fighters were destroyed, along with a Russian fuel depot. The Ukrainian ATACMS missile also managed to destroy a set of Russian S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. This marks a major achievement for the Ukrainian army.

Belbek Airbase, the largest Russian airbase in Crimea, was hit hard. Many Russian aircraft were parked outside under simple hangar covers, making them easy targets. As expected, the losses were significant.

16 missiles fired: 450,000 liters of aviation fuel were burned
Photo credit: Sohu

While the Russian S-300 and S-400 systems have shown they can intercept many Ukrainian missiles and rockets, this time the Ukrainian forces managed to destroy both an S-300 and an S-400 system in one strike. This unexpected result is significant and concerning for the Russian military.

The Russian army encountered difficulties

Ukraine’s strategy in the ongoing conflict with Russia is clear. The Russian forces struggled to advance in the Donbas region, so they opened a new front to engage and weaken Ukrainian forces. 

Now, the fighting has moved to Kharkiv, while Ukraine is countering in Kherson and Crimea. Both sides aim to weaken the other and find an opening for a decisive strike. Although the Russian military is strong, Ukraine’s determination is also significant. 

Kherson and Crimea are strategic points vulnerable to attacks. Crimea, extending into the Black Sea, is almost surrounded by water and is a key target for Ukraine. Using advanced technology, Ukrainian forces often deploy drones, including explosive drones, to hit Russian troops in Crimea from the sea.

Doubts about Russian weapons

Since the conflict began, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has lost many ships to Ukrainian attacks. Even the Belbek air base has been hit by Ukrainian missiles. Crimea’s close location to Ukraine and its long coastline create significant defense issues for Russia, giving them limited ways to fight back. 

M39A1 ATACMS for Ukraine are officially expired but still usable
Photo credit: Medium

This brings up questions about how good Russian weapons really are. Ukrainian forces have used ATACMS missiles to destroy Russian air defense systems like the S-400. This shows weak spots in Russia’s defense plans. 

In war, things always change. In 1999, the Yugoslav Federation shot down an F-117 stealth fighter with old SA-3 missiles from the 1960s. Stealth technology is still a key focus for the US, China, and Russia. Ukraine’s success against the S-400 with its missiles shows that smart tactics can beat high-tech weapons. While the S-300 and S-400 are advanced, they have flaws that can be exploited with the right tactics. 

S-300 and S-400 also had results

India strengthens its air defense with delivery of new S-400
Video screenshot

Let’s take a closer look at Russia’s defense capabilities. When it comes to their S-300 and S-400 air defense systems, there are noteworthy results. Reports show that when the Ukrainian military fired 16 tactical missiles at Crimea, the Russian military intercepted 10 of them. This gives them an interception rate of around 62%, suggesting that Russia’s air defense may be more effective than some critics think. 

Current events make the situation complex. While Ukraine is counterattacking toward Crimea, the difference in military strength and weapons between Russia and Ukraine creates big challenges. Mobilizing Russian forces isn’t easy, like trying to wake a sleeping giant with a small poke. Crimea and Ukrainian positions are divided by significant geographical barriers, like Kherson and the Dnieper River. Ukraine would need to cross the river and secure substantial land on the other side to effectively mobilize against Russia. 

Such a scenario would force Russia to move troops from Donbas. However, the current capabilities of the Ukrainian military make such a river-crossing operation unlikely. While missile attacks on Russian forces may cause some damage, they are unlikely to change the broader strategic situation significantly.


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