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Frontline report: Ukraine’s missile hits Crimea’s Dzhankoi, army conducts minor advances in the south

On 7 October 2023, Ukrainian forces struck Crimea with a missile and drone strike, hitting railway hub Dzhankoi. Armed forces continued tactical advance towards Kopani in the Tokmak direction.
A modified S-200 missile reportedly used by the Ukrainian forces to strike Crimea. Screenshot.
Frontline report: Ukraine’s missile hits Crimea’s Dzhankoi, army conducts minor advances in the south

This Ukrainian strike on Crimea was very peculiar compared to what we have seen recently because, firstly, the strike was extremely dispersed. Secondly, the strike targeted unconventional areas, and thirdly, Ukrainians targeted these areas with lone missiles and drones.

Russian sources reported that Ukrainians attacked Russian objects in western Crimea with one drone and one missile. Two more missiles were detected past Cape Fiolent in the south, and at least one more missile – in the central part near Dzankoi. Russian sources claimed that all objects were shot down, with the exception of those around Dzankoi.

Local residents posted footage of explosions and confirmed that Ukrainian missiles hit unspecified facilities on the main railroad.

The analysts concluded that the use of lone drones and missiles in unconventional places means only one thing – Ukrainians are testing the Russian air defense in preparation for the next series of devastating strikes, and as the Russian Black Sea Fleet was already forced out of Crimea, the only valuable targets here remain bases, logistical centers, and fuel and ammunition depots.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that Ukrainians used modified S-200 missiles, which made the Russian analysts even more concerned about the security of central Crimea, as a lone S-200 missile managed to pass through the air defense with no hurdles. Maybe this is because after shooting down their own fighter jets for two weeks straight, the Russian air defense operators decided not to intercept lone objects in the air this time.

In the meantime, Ukrainians have increased the scale of their offensive operation on Kopani in the Tokmak direction. Recently released geolocated footage shows Russian units striking Ukrainian positions in the tree lines almost directly north of the settlement. Based on the footage, it seems like Ukrainians have concentrated their forces north of the settlement and made a sudden flank attack to complement the main attack from Robotyne.

Another video shows the Russian thermobaric artillery system TOS-1 trying to target the Ukrainian force’s concentrations around the village and prevent an attack from the north. Ukrainian Special Forces published a video that showed how they managed to identify the Russian thermobaric artillery system TOS-1, tracked it down, and, in coordination with HIMARS crews, destroyed it right before it made a new strike to undermine the Ukrainian offensive effort.

Ukrainian Special Forces also detected a Russian air defense rocket launcher, Strela-10, and promptly destroyed it. On top of that, Ukrainian fighters identified and destroyed a powerful electronic warfare system, R-330, which opened the sky for Ukrainian drone operators, especially assault drones, allowing them to amplify the attacks

Interestingly, today, it was confirmed that Russians tried to attack Robotyne from Kopani multiple times in September. The Institute for the Study of War assessed the dynamics in this region and concluded that even though Russian forces likely temporarily regained certain positions west of Robotyne, they subsequently lost the sub-tactical initiative on the Ukrainian flank near Robotyne during a series of counterattacks in the past few weeks.

Ukrainian military analysts gave more details about the situation and reported that elements of Russian Airborne formations had attacked Ukrainian positions on the Kopani-Robotyne direction in a failed attempt to alleviate pressure on Russian forces near Novoprokopivka. The analysts stated that the Russian 104th Airborne Regiment failed to reach the outskirts of Robotyne and even lost several positions near Kopani. Nonetheless, judging by the Ukrainian decisive reaction to attack in this direction, the Russian attacks at least achieved spoiling effects on Ukrainian offensive operations.

So far, Ukrainians continue advancing. The Spokesman for the Ukrainian Forces in the Tokmak direction, Oleksandr Shtupun, reported that Ukrainian forces achieved success west of Robotyne and established control over new trenches and fortifications. Interestingly, some less prominent Russian sources admit that Ukrainians pushed further overnight and continued attacking Russian positions, using small infantry groups.

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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