Ukraine at D+575: Black Sea Fleet struck.
N2K logoSep 22, 2023

As Russia resists Ukraine's push to expand its breakthrough in the Surovikin Line, Ukrainian missile strikes hit the Black Sea Fleet's headquarters in occupied Sevastopol.

Ukraine at D+575: Black Sea Fleet struck.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) confirms that Ukrainian armor has been operating "beyond the final line of the Russian defensive layer that Ukrainian forces in western Zaporizhia Oblast are currently penetrating," but it cautions that it cannot yet confirm a full breakthrough. Nevertheless the activity is significant, if only because penetration of this third line indicates that the first two lines have clearly been breached. Russian forces are trying to close the gap Ukrainian armor has forced, the Wall Street Journal reports, and Ukraine continues to press toward the coast.

Strikes against Russian installations in occupied Ukraine and Russia proper.

The ISW also reports that Ukraine conducted coordinated drone and missile strikes against Russia's airbase at Saky in occupied Crimea, although with what effect is unknown. Other strikes against the Russian naval installations in occupied Crimea have, according to the Telegraph, had an effect on the Black Sea Fleet's combat capability. TASS reported the successful drone strike against what it called the "historic headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet." It hit only the headquarters, but TASS darkly says that the headquarters is surrounded by "historic Sevastopol" which could also have been damaged (although it wasn't). The targeting presents a sharp contrast with Russia's indiscriminate strikes against Ukrainian cities.

"Over the last four days, both Russia and Ukraine have experienced unusually intense attacks deep behind their lines," the UK's Ministry of Defence writes in this morning's situation report. "There have been reports of explosions at Russian logistics sites, air bases and command posts in Crimea, the Krasnodar region, and near Moscow. It is highly likely that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has again been heavily targeted. However, the explosions at Chkalovsky Air Base, near Moscow, are likely to be of most strategic concern to Russian leaders. This is a sensitive location because it hosts specialist military aircraft as well as VIP transport for Russian leaders. Reported damage to a COOT special mission aircraft is particularly relevant: the exact variant involved is unclear, but these valuable assets undertake missions which include electronic intelligence collection. Russia has launched long-range strikes at targets across Ukraine repeatedly over the last week. This unusual intensity is likely partially in response to the incidents in Russia and Crimea. With the ground battle relatively static, each side is seeking advantage by striking through their adversary’s strategic depth."

Bermuda points to Russian threat actors in cyber incident.

Bermuda's government judges that widespread disruption of official networks and services in the island is the work of Russian threat actors. Premier David Burt said, the Royal Gazette reports, “Our initial indication is it’s come from an external source, most likely from Russia, and we are working with agencies to make sure that we can identify any particular challenges and make sure that services are restored as quickly as possible.” Whether the attack is simply criminal or has a political purpose is unclear. Authorities in Bermuda believe that some Caribbean countries have been similarly affected. According to Bernews, the government says that service disruptions are continuing into today.