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Frontline report: Depletion of Russian air defense in southern Ukraine opens doors for Ukrainian armed drones

Frequent Ukrainian strikes on Russian air defense systems in occupied Crimea and Kherson Oblast allow Ukraine to use drones freely, including Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 armed drones.
Frontline report Crimea
Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian military infrastructure in southern Ukraine. Screenshot from a video.
Frontline report: Depletion of Russian air defense in southern Ukraine opens doors for Ukrainian armed drones

Today, there is a lot of news from the south.

First of all, today, the Russian large-scale drone strike on Ukrainian harbors went terribly
wrong. Since the main Russian targets had been the harbors on the sea, the Ukrainians increased their reliance on the ports on the Danube River, such as those in Izmayil and Reni in the Odesa Oblast.

Frontline report Izmayil and Reni
Izmayil and Reni in the Odesa Oblast.
Screenshot from a video.

Ukrainians counted on the proximity to the NATO border as a strong deterrent for Russians because Ukrainian harbors here are just 200 meters away from Romania, and if anything goes wrong, Russians would end up hitting the NATO member. And when it comes to drone strikes, many things can go wrong.

The drone can malfunction and miss the target, Ukrainians can damage the drone and cause it to deviate, and the drone’s GPS can be affected by electronic warfare systems. Under such circumstances, constant strikes mean that it is just a matter of time until drones start hitting Romania.

As it turned out, Russian forces were unwilling to avoid the risk and continued striking Reni and Ismail. As a result, several Russian kamikaze drones reportedly hit the Romanian territory.

Consequences of the alleged crash and explosion of the Russian Shahed drone on Romanian territory. Credit: Oleh Nikolenko

The Romanian Minister of Defense responded to the situation by stating that the Russian drone strike was aimed at the Ukrainian Reni port, which they strongly condemn. However, from the point of view of the Romanian Defense Ministry, the drone strike did not pose direct military threats to Romania.

Some analysts evaluated this as a prudent response aimed at avoiding unnecessary escalation, while others stated that the lack of strong repercussions would be exploited by Russians, and that Russians would not be afraid to strike objects close to the Romanian border.

In the meantime, Ukrainians continued conducting their own strikes on the Russian military objects in the western part of the occupied Kherson Oblast in southern Ukraine. As alluded to previously, after Ukrainians destroyed multiple Russian air defense systems along the western shore of Crimea and the southern shore of the Kherson Oblast, Ukraine gained almost absolute freedom of movement for the aerial drones, which allowed the Ukrainians to start using Bayraktar armed drones once again.

Frontline report Kherson Oblast
Ukrainian strikes on Russian air defense systems in the Kherson Oblast.
Screenshot from a video.

Today, the Ukrainians conducted another successful strike on the areas of concentration of Russian forces. If yesterday Ukrainians hunted down a boat with ammunition and personnel, then today they struck a truck with ammunition and personnel exactly in the same area.

Meanwhile, Russian sources started complaining that Ukrainian reconnaissance drones began to get even deeper into Russian-controlled territories, and Russian chase operations involving helicopters are slowly becoming a common occurrence.

Frontline report a Russian boat
A Russian boat with ammo and personnel.
Screenshot from a video.

The analysts are warning that if Russians get used to employing helicopters for this purpose, Ukrainians will definitely start creating traps and destroying them.

By the way, today, it was confirmed that Russian forces lost another attack helicopter Ka-52. The helicopter was reportedly on a mission in the Azov Sea when it crashed into the water due to a malfunction. Russian sources reported that the accident happened 1.5 kilometers from the shore and that both pilots managed to survive.

Ka-52 helicopter
Ka-52 helicopter. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Coincidentally, the same day, Ukrainians released an interview with a Russian soldier who recently helped Ukrainians steal a Russian helicopter Mi-8. The interview sent a shock through the Russian media space, as most of them reported that Russian soldiers were tricked or the GPS broke down, and Russians wandered onto the Ukrainian airfield by mistake.

In reality, the pilot was against the invasion of Ukraine and did not see any sense in killing each other. He concluded that the only viable way out for him was to surrender and switch sides. Unfortunately, the crew members did not share the same view and put up high resistance. The pilot got shot. However, Ukrainian Special Operations Forces were already there, eliminated resistance, and evacuated the injured pilot.

As a result, during the operation Synytsia (Bluebird) of the Ukrainian intelligence, Ukraine got the newest Russian modification of the helicopter Mi-8, which is already used by the Ukrainian military and also a valuable pilot. Operation Synytsa is very similar to the legendary Israeli Operation Diamond in 1966 when they managed to steal the most advanced Russian fighter jet at that time, MiG-21.

During the press conference with the Ukrainian media, the Russian pilot of the helicopter said that the fastest and safest way to end this unnecessary war was to follow his example, as he no longer needed to obey Russian orders under the threat of imprisonment or something worse.

Kuzminov
Russian helicopter pilot, Maksim Kuzminov, during his press conference in Ukraine.
Credit: Ukrayina-Ukrinform.

The attitude towards the war inside Russia is radically changing. Today, Russian sources reported that the number of assaults on the veterans of the so-called special military operation (in other words, the Russian invasion of Ukraine) is increasing.

Today, a soldier on vacation in Russia’s Rostov was shot 12 times in the street after locals learned he fought in Ukraine. Several weeks ago, locals tracked down and beaten to death two Wagner soldiers.

Around the same time, someone in Chelyabinsk (eastern Russia) killed another Russian war veteran. During the last week of August, several people used metal bars to beat a veteran from Sharypovo.

Such cases are becoming increasingly common and may represent a growing societal discontent in Russia. However, these cases do not get much attention in the Russian media.

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

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