Tuesday, March 19, 2024

UKR Drones Hit one RU Oil Refinery After Another; RU’s Hold On Crimea Loosens; Putin’s Army Reeling After 600 Killed Inside RU; UKR Downs 17 Drones; 56 Combat Clashes; RU Loses, 810 Sold, 19 Tanks, 34 Art-Sys -Past Day, LIVE UPDATES and LOTS MORE

Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ukrainian drones hit one Russian oil refinery after another:
Ukraine faces a challenging problem: how to stop a resurgent Moscow in its tracks long enough to rotate the troops, resupply, and fortify.
Part of the answer is playing out right now in the skies over Russia. Over the past two weeks, at least dozens of Ukrainian drones reportedly struck at least nine Russian regions. The majority of the drones had very specific targets: oil refineries.
Many have hit their targets as fires and explosions have been reported at fuel processing plants across Russia.
Ukraine has been striking oil infrastructure in Russia since the beginning of the full-scale war but that kicked into high gear in the late fall of 2023. According to The Insider, there have been 15 drone attacks against 13 oil refineries in nine regions of Russia in 2024. Multiple refineries reportedly lost some capacity after the attacks, with the latest series continuing for the majority of March.
“Ukraine continues to have important successes with its drone strikes against Russian oil and industrial infrastructure,” said Federico Borsari, an unmanned tech scholar with the Center for European Policy Analysis.
This goes hand in hand with Ukraine’s earlier attacks on Russia’s hydrocarbon-pumping port infrastructure in Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk — Russia’s primary gateways to export the oil and gas that keep the whole country and its invasion of Ukraine running.
If the attacks can be sustained at a high tempo, they could slow Russia’s war machine and economy, raise spending, pressure Russia to move air defenses, reduce exports, and cause unfavorable price swings on fuel.
This could buy Ukraine more time. The country is currently on the back foot, with a severe shell shortage due to factional Republican grandstanding in the U.S. Congress. Russia has intensified its attacks on multiple fronts, seeing the opportunity to break through after the capture of Avdiivka in mid-February.
According to Borsari, these attacks typically involve medium-sized fixed-wing one-way-attack drones with a propeller engine that can fly for hundreds of kilometers. --->READ MORE HERE
Peter Hermes Furian / shutterstock.com
Ukraine war: Russia’s hold on Crimea loosens:
Ten years after Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, annexed Crimea, its grip on the peninsula looks shaky.
It is ten years since Russia illegally annexed Crimea on March 18th 2014. Subsequent efforts to integrate the peninsula firmly into the Russian Federation, however, have been far from the success story the Kremlin often likes to portray. In fact, comparing the increasingly shaky grip Moscow has on the peninsula today with the situation before the annexation would suggest Russia’s strategic position has actually worsened over the past decade.
The Kerch bridge between Crimea and Russia opened to much fanfare in 2018 with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, driving a truck across it. It has become a symbol not only of Russian occupation of Crimea but also of Ukrainian resistance. Spectacular Ukrainian attacks in October 2022 and July 2023 exposed the tenuousness of Russia’s connection to the peninsula. Not only that but repeated missile and drone attacks on Russian installations in Crimea and partisan activity in Crimea have heightened the sense of Russian vulnerability.
Black Sea successes
Most significant of all, Russia’s Black Sea fleet has suffered significant losses over the past two years. As a result of these Ukrainian successes, the Kremlin decided to relocate the Black Sea fleet from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk on the Russian mainland. Compare that with the situation before the annexation of Crimea in 2014, when Russia had a secure lease on the naval base of Sevastopol until 2042.
Moreover, the Turkish closure of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles shortly after the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 means that Russia can no longer freely move warships in and out of the Black Sea. This makes losses, such as those of the Black Sea fleet’s flagship cruiser Moskva in April 2022 and recently the patrol boat Sergey Kotov and the amphibian landing ship Caesar Kunikov, even more of a strategic blow to Russian capabilities.
These attacks also have a significant symbolic value for Ukraine and its allies. While the 2023 Ukrainian counter-offensive on the mainland failed to deliver on expectations, Kyiv’s deft deployment of air and sea drones and of longer-range missiles ensured a remarkable change of fortunes in the Black Sea. This was underlined recently when the Kremlin removed its second commander of the Black Sea Fleet since the invasion of Ukraine.
Momentum around Crimea clearly seems to be on Ukraine’s side. Earlier this month, the Ukrainian intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, signalled that a major operation aimed at further loosening Russia’s grip on Crimea was imminent. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Putin’s Army Reeling After 600 Killed Inside Russia, Ukraine Claims+++++

+++++Ukraine Reports Downing 17 of 22 Russian Drones+++++

+++++Ukrainian Rocket Forces destroy Russian air defence system, 56 Combat Clashes  – General Staff report++++

+++++Russia loses 810 soldiers, 19 tanks and 34 artillery systems per day - Ukraine's General Staff+++++

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