Artillery vehicle

Ukraine devastates Russian artillery depots ahead of offensive | Russo-Ukrainian War

Ukraine destroyed a series of Russian ammunition depots in the 20th week of the war, demonstrating the effectiveness of US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket systems and other Western systems , and worrying Russian military observers.

These Ukrainian attacks appear to be part of preparations for a summer counter-offensive in the southern districts of Kherson and Zaporizhia, which border Crimea.

Ukraine said it destroyed a key Russian command post in the Kherson district along with an arsenal of weapons, killing 12 Russian soldiers on July 10. Its armed forces released drone footage of a burning depot.

Two days later, Ukraine said it struck another Russian ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka, also in Kherson Oblast, this time killing 52 soldiers.

Russia’s official Tass news agency said only civilian infrastructure was hit for the second time and seven people were killed, but Russian military bloggers reported with concern on Ukraine’s recent success against rear depots Russians and have repeatedly posted videos of munitions exploding.

One of them, called Military Informer on Telegram, talks about “daily combined attacks on Russian bases and warehouses using GMLRS and Point-U missiles at a depth of 80-120 km (50-75 miles)”.

“The Russian army has not solved the existing problem with the enemy’s long-range weapons,” the blogger said.

The Kremlin reportedly encouraged Russian military journalists to leave out operational details; Russian President Vladimir Putin met with a group of them on June 17 to try to defuse tensions.

Britain supplied Ukraine with the M270 Guided Multiple Launch System (GMLRS) and the United States sent HIMARS. Both are highly accurate multiple launch rocket systems.

Himars

The Ukrainian Armed Forces reported other similar successes against Russian ammunition dumps, including on the Eastern Front, where panic among Russian forces may have facilitated assaults.

Ukrainian forces say they hit a hastily assembled Russian storage of fuel, lubricants and ammunition in the Azotny district of Donetsk Oblast.

“Everything was done in a hurry,” said a Ukrainian message on Telegram, “and so senselessly, that it did not escape the ‘watchful eye’.”

On July 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that Western-supplied weapons were essential for such attacks.

“The weapons we received from our partners started to work very powerfully,” he said. “Their precision is exactly what we need. Our defenders are inflicting very noticeable strikes on depots and other important occupier logistics spots. And this significantly reduces the offensive potential of the Russian army.

So far, Ukraine has received eight HIMARS systems.

The United States announced on July 8 that it would send four more systems as part of a new $400 million arms shipment to Ukraine. Russia has previously said it destroyed the HIMARS launchers, but a US defense official has denied this.

The “dominance” of Russia

Russia’s ability to concentrate firepower has been key to its ability to seize territory in the eastern provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk.

“Russia has achieved fire dominance thanks to the sheer volume of artillery and tactical ammunition it can employ,” wrote the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a leading military think tank, in a recent report. special report on Ukraine’s front lines. .

“Russia fires about 20,000 152mm guns [5.98-inch] rounds per day versus 6,000 in Ukraine, with an even greater proportional disparity in the multiple rocket launchers and missiles fired,” the RUSI report said. “The quickest way to level the playing field is to allow Ukraine to hit Russian artillery logistics.”

Russia unwittingly helped Ukraine do this in April, RUSI says, when civilian contractors were tricked into moving ammunition from the railheads to the division’s rear, “with military units then moving the ammunition to large ammunition depots behind the main artillery concentrations”.

This system, the report says, “makes major Russian artillery bottlenecks highly predictable.”

These successes have fueled Ukrainian rhetoric in recent weeks.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov was the latest official to rule out a negotiated end to the war on July 9, saying Russia would either collapse, give up or be defeated.

In a related development, Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation has started training private drone operators in flight and camouflage skills. Some operators have donated their own equipment to this “drone army”. Both sides use drones to target enemy artillery.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Russia was also preparing in that direction.

“Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to supply Russia with up to several hundred drones, including weapons-capable drones. [unmanned aerial vehicle]on an expedited timeline,” Sullivan said.

A summer counter-offensive

The destruction of Russian ammunition appears to be part of a larger Southern counter-offensive plan.

On July 10, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called on civilians to evacuate the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia “by all possible means so that the armed forces can liberate these territories without endangering the civilian population”. . It was his third warning since June 20.

Ukrainian forces bombed Kherson airport on July 5, crippling a probable Russian logistical lifeline.

Sabotage efforts in the occupied south also intensified.

The Ukrainian Resistance Center said partisans in Kherson blew up a railway bridge between Bohdanivka and Troitske on July 7, hampering Russian logistical efforts. Partisans had also blown up a railway bridge on July 3 and derailed a Russian munitions train on July 2.

Britain will train 10,000 Ukrainian troops over the next few months, Ukraine reported – a high number suggesting Ukraine could keep large forces in reserve for its counter-offensive.

Labor motivation has been a Russian weakness. The administration of Russian-occupied Lugansk Oblast said Russian forces were forcibly conscripting men by issuing them with summonses after they were called to work.

Ukraine’s intelligence services said Russia is now offering convicts, including murderers, an amnesty after six months of military service in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Center for Combating Disinformation said Russia announced 22,200 vacancies for contract military personnel.

An ongoing investigation by the BBC’s Russian Service and MediaZona, an independent Russian media that authorities denounce as a “foreign agent”, has found that 17% of Russian deaths are officers – a high proportion that could affect the ability command of Russia in the field.

Despite these setbacks, Putin delivered a hawkish speech in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on July 7, in which he said he was ready to fight Ukraine to the bitter end if necessary.

“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. What can you say? Let them try,” Putin said. to the last Ukrainian. It is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems that everything is heading towards this.