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Ukraine Strikes Russian Ships and Destroys Missile Defense System in Crimea

Pic credit - Reuters

In a series of audacious attacks, Ukraine reported on Thursday that its forces targeted two Russian patrol ships operating in the Black Sea and successfully destroyed a sophisticated "Triumf" surface-to-air missile defense system in Russian-occupied Crimea. These developments have prompted military analysts to characterize them as "tactical failures" on Russia's part.

The latest attacks came just a day after Kyiv revealed that it had executed a missile strike that inflicted significant damage on a Russian submarine and a naval landing ship undergoing repairs in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

In an announcement posted on the Telegram messaging app, Ukraine's military disclosed that it had carried out an assault on two Russian patrol vessels located in the southwest region of the Black Sea, resulting in "certain damage" during a morning operation.

One Ukrainian military intelligence official, Andriy Yusov, confirmed the attack on the Sergei Kotov ship, sharing a grainy video on Reuters that depicted sea drones attacking a vessel at sea. The Russian Defence Ministry subsequently confirmed the attack on the Sergei Kotov but claimed that the assault, which reportedly involved five sea drones, had been successfully repelled. The extent of the damage to the ship was not addressed in their statement.

In another significant move, Ukraine's military revealed that it had targeted a Russian air defense system in a long-range attack during the early hours of Thursday near the town of Yevpatoriya in the western part of Crimea. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commended this operation in his nightly address to the nation, referring to it as a "triumph."

"I thank you for today's triumph—the destruction of the occupiers' air defense system on the land of our Crimea. It is a very significant achievement. Well done!" President Zelenskyy said, specifically commending the Security Service of Ukraine and the Navy for their efforts.

The Washington, DC-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), weighed in on the situation, stating that the reported destruction of the Russian S-400 "Triumf" surface-to-air missile system in Crimea during a "special operation" highlights serious weaknesses in Russia's defense of the occupied peninsula.

"The strike suggests that Russian forces were unprepared to intercept missiles with the system or were unable to do so," the ISW noted in its analysis.

The ISW further pointed out that Ukrainian forces had previously targeted a Russian S-400 air defense system near Olenivka, Crimea, late in August. This "second Ukrainian strike on a significant Russian air defense system in recent weeks indicates that such tactical failures may reflect a wider systemic issue with Russian air defenses in occupied Crimea," the think tank concluded.

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