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Frontline report: Ukraine hits targets far behind frontline with cruise missiles; Russia loses four military air assets

Luhansk in the battle map. Screeenshot from the video
Frontline report: Ukraine hits targets far behind frontline with cruise missiles; Russia loses four military air assets
Ukrainian forces successfully strike several targets in Luhansk, using a combination of decoy missiles and precision British missiles, while Russia loses four military air assets near Ukraine’s northern border in what possibly was an ambush by Ukrainian fighter jets.

Day 444: May 13

Today there are a lot of updates from the northeast.

The day started with several massive explosions in Luhansk City, located around 100 km behind the front line. This was the second consecutive day of precision strikes on targets inside this city, which magnified panic and speculations about using Storm Shadow missiles because, previously, Ukrainians could not reach so deep in the rear.

The first and second targets of the Ukrainian strike became two factories currently used by the Russian military. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians used at least two rockets and successfully hit the Poli-Pack and Milan factories.

The third target became the former building of the Internal Affairs Institute. Such buildings are usually used as high-level military headquarters for the commanders of brigades and divisions.

The fourth and fifth targets became facilities belonging to food and chemical processing plants. Such factories usually have huge warehouses and storage facilities, likely used for storing ammunition and equipment.

At first, Russian sources reported that Ukrainians used ballistic missiles Hrim-2, however, on 13 May, as more information became available, this theory was dispelled. On 13 May, Russians found remnants of a British Storm Shadow missile and an American ADM-160B missile. On top of that, Russians noted that Ukrainians scrambled one Su-24 and one MiG-29, which gave an insight into the Ukrainian tactic (Russia also claimed it shot down both Ukrainian aircraft, which wasn’t confirmed, – Ed.).

In order to make sure that a Storm Shadow missile reached its target, Ukrainians first launched ADM-160 missiles as decoys for the Russian air defense. And while the Russian air defense was focused on the decoy, the Storm Shadow missiles had a clear sky. And all of that happened under the cover of MiG-29.

Russian Air Force also conducted an air attack on 13 May. Ukrainian General Staff reported that they recorded a total of 21 launches of various drones. Ukrainian air defense managed to shoot down 17, while four managed to hit objects in various parts of Ukraine.

The biggest explosion happened in Khmelnytskyi. Judging by the explosion, it is clear that Russians managed to blow up an ammunition depot on a Ukrainian military base located around 1 km away from the city. Russian sources claimed that this base has a huge storage of aircraft ammunition.

Russia’s another successful strike happened in Ternopil. The target became a railway machinery and repair plant, which Ukrainians could use to repair their equipment.

But the biggest news by far comes from the northern front. On 13 May, Russians lost here four aircraft within minutes. Russian officials reported that the incidents happened due to an engine malfunction. Unofficial sources challenged the official narrative and stated that even though the fire indeed broke out near the engine, it looked like an explosion from a missile. The photos of the remnants dispelled all doubts as the damage is characteristic of a missile explosion.

Russia lost two aircraft and two helicopters in one day over its own territory – media

The most credible version of what happened suggests that Ukrainian jets ambushed Russian aircraft. Ukrainians reportedly used fighter jets from their airfield in Poltava equipped with the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, which have a range of up to 70 km, so Ukrainian jets would not even need to get close to the border.

In this case, all puzzle pieces fit together, and some Russian military-affiliated bloggers reported that they were already trying to find the clerks that instructed the pilots to operate at an unsafe altitude. Given that Ukrainians are closely monitoring Russian airfields, it would not be hard to make such a trap, especially knowing the general patterns in which Russians like to approach the targets and also knowing their regulations for altitude.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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