In a bold move on Tuesday night, the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a series of attacks on Russian cities and military installations, including the Black Sea Fleet’s Sevastopol homeport in Crimea. This is the largest attack on Russia since the war began and signifies a shift in Ukraine’s strategy. It appears that Ukraine is no longer afraid of Russian retaliation and is instead focused on taking control of the political narrative and increasing the pace of the war.
One of the most significant attacks targeted the home port of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. While there have been no reports of damage, this strike sends a clear message to Russia that no target is off-limits. Other attacks took place in Tula, where a major military airbase was hit, and in Ryazan, where the Ukrainian forces targeted the headquarters of the Russian Airborne forces.
⚡️It was not calm tonight in the temporarily occupied Sevastopol. 🇺🇦Ukrainian surface and aerial drones attacked the Sevastopol Bay area – local residents report explosions and intensive use of air defense systems and automatic weapons. pic.twitter.com/1z8dReYQGE
— 🇺🇦Ukrainian Front (@front_ukrainian) August 30, 2023
Ukrainian drones also struck Lipetsk, Kaluga, and Bryansk, causing damage to an oil refinery, a defense electronics manufacturing facility, and an oil depot. Strikingly, these attacks in Bryansk are ongoing, indicating a relentless assault on Russian targets. In Oryol, a Ukrainian drone was shot down by a Russian helicopter gunship.
The Ukrainian forces also made a pointed statement by attaching a Wagner Group Private Military Company decal to the downed drone in Pskov. While it is unlikely that the Wagner Group was involved, this act serves as a form of trolling against the Russians.
The widespread drone attacks on Russia have resulted in a comical reaction from some Russian media personalities. The distance between Ukraine and the targets, such as the Ostrov airbase in Pskov, has raised questions about who was responsible. While tensions rise about potential involvement from other nations, it is crucial to consider the possibility of Ukrainian Special Operations Forces launching these attacks.
Overall, these attacks serve as a clear message to both Russia and the international community. Politically, the attacks weaken Vladimir Putin’s position and challenge his narrative of invincibility. Additionally, they serve as a plea to the United States to provide Ukraine with the necessary support to win the war. The continuous drone strikes on Russian targets highlight Ukraine’s determination to defend itself and assert its independence. As General Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris famously said during World War II, the principle holds true: no nation is invulnerable, and arrogance can lead to costly mistakes.