Special Operations: Ukraine Brings the War to Russia


May 19, 2024: Ukraine is dependent on military aid from NATO nations to deal with Russian forces inside Ukraine. This includes anti-missile systems like Patriot to block continuing Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in an effort to demoralize Ukrainian civilians and cause them to accept an end of the war on Russian terms. Before the invasion there were 43 million people in Ukraine. By 2024 that had declined to 37.7 million. In addition to those who had fled Ukraine, over 30 percent of the population has been displaced inside Ukraine by the fighting.

Meanwhile Ukraine builds its own UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and USVs (Unmanned Surface Vessels) to carry out attacks on economic targets inside Russia and force the Russian Black Fleet to flee from the western Black sea to safer ports over a thousand kilometers away in the Sea of Azov. The novel USVs, all designed and built in Ukraine, destroyed, or damaged over a third of the Black Sea Fleet. That compelled the Russians to move their remaining ships as far away from Ukrainian USVs as possible. USVs and ballistic missiles supplied by NATO nations, are also being used to block or destroy the 19 kilometer-long Kerch Strait bridge between the Russian mainland and Crimea. The bridge cost Russia over four billion dollars and was operational before the Ukraine War. Currently the bridge is out of service because of continuous Ukrainian attacks. The Russians keep making repairs on the bridge to get 1-2 lanes open. The bridge consists of two two-lane roadway portions for trucks and other vehicle traffic plus a two-track railroad line. The railroad line can only handle limited train traffic because of extensive damage that has been difficult to repair because of continuous Ukrainian attacks.

Recently Ukraine has concentrated on using more of its locally produced UAVs for long range attacks into Russia to damage or destroy economic targets. Targets up to a thousand kilometers inside Russia have been attacked and serious damage has been inflicted on fuel storage sites and facilities for storing military equipment as well as some factories that manufactured items for the military. The fuel storage damage was so extensive that Russians living or working in the area could not, for a while, get fuel for their vehicles. Ukrainian attacks have knocked out all significant oil refineries in European Russia and vehicle fuel must be imported from Belarus. These attacks also disrupted Russian oil exports, which are difficult enough to arrange because of international sanctions on Russia and its oil exports.

Some Ukrainian attacks occurred close to Moscow, the Russian capital. This brought the war home for many powerful and influential Russians living in the area. These attacks were a major embarrassment to the government. Up until then the official government view was that the war was going well in Ukraine. It wasn’t and now Muscovites were hearing and seeing evidence of that. So are foreign journalists based in the capital and suddenly the Ukrainian attacks inside Russia are news in countries around the world.

This led to curiosity about what else Ukrainian UAVs were attacking deep inside Russia. There were quite a few targets damaged or destroyed. The government was criticized for not being able to detect or stop these attacks. Where was the air defense system Russians had been told would protect the people from air attacks.

This was earlier demonstrated in 1987 when Mathias Rust, a West German teenager with a pilot’s license flew is single engine Cessna aircraft 8oo kilometers from Helsinki Finland to Moscow undetected by Russian air defenses and landed the aircraft on a bridge next to Red Square, which is adjacent to the Kremlin complex of buildings where many offices and some living quarters are located. Rust chose that day because it was Russia’s national Air Defense Forces Day when all the air defense forces were drunk celebrating. Rust was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison but was released after 14 months and sent back to West Germany. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev used the Rust incident to fire 150 Russian military and civilian officials who were at work when the Rust incident happened and did nothing. A month later Gorbachev had to deal with the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine. Gorbachev later said that Chernobyl and the Rust incident played a major, if not decisive, role in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Russian Federation emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which made 14 portions of the Soviet Union independent nations. This included Ukraine. In another example of history repeating, or at least paraphrasing itself, Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. This turned into another Russian tragedy, which isn’t over yet. In many respects the Ukrainian attacks deep inside Russia demonstrate that the Russian air defense system hasn’t improved much since 1987 when Mathias Rust landed his Cessna next to the Kremlin. At least Rust wasn’t carrying any explosives. Russians are demanding that their government do more to protect Russians and spend less time attacking neighboring Ukraine.


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