The Russian command is most likely losing faith in security in Crimea after a series of Ukrainian attacks on Russian military installations on the peninsula occupied by Russia, annexed by Russia, the US Institute for War Studies (ISW) estimates in a new report.
Think tank cites reports from Russian sources about the resignation of the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Igor Osipov and his replacement by Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov, and allegations of an alleged “terrorist threat” in Sevastopol. The Ukrainian military intelligence has informed in the last several dozen hours that Russia it moves dozens of planes from forward airports in Crimea deep into the peninsula or to Russia.
“Recent Ukrainian strikes (associated with Ukrainian partisans and the Armed Forces Ukraine) on Russian military assets in Crimea, including the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, probably put the Russian forces on high alert and led to the restructuring of the composition, logistics and command of forces in the Russian grouping in Crimea in order to mitigate the effects of future strikes “- he estimates HEI.
Meanwhile, Russian propaganda is trying to misrepresent Ukrainian attacks on military targets in Crimea as terrorist attacks and attribute them to Islamic fundamentalists. The purpose of these actions is to distract attention from Russia’s violation of international rights and the appeals emerging in the West to formally recognize this country as a sponsoring country for terrorism, the report said.
However, attacks against credible Russian military targets do not go beyond the area of lawful use of force and are not acts of terrorism. There is also no evidence to suggest that Islamic extremists are responsible for them, it underlined.
At the front, the Russian troops tried unsuccessfully to attack near the border of the Kharkiv and Donetsk oblasts, continued unsuccessful attacks on villages around Siewiersk, carried out a series of attacks to the north-east and south of Bakhmut, and tried to improve their tactical positions near Horliwka, summarizes the TI.
The Russians made little progress northwest of Donetsk and near the border of the Zaporizhia and Donetsk regions. They are also preparing to defend the land lines of communication in the Melitopol-Tokmak-Berdyansk triangle, mining the area in the front-line villages in the east of the Zaporizhia Oblast, the report added.
Main photo source: Reuters / Maxar Technologies