Is there a bigger plan behind it? ISW decodes Ukraine’s Naval Strikes

Turnaround in war on the horizon? ISW exposes recent Ukrainian naval attacks as a push for counteroffensive!

In a recent report, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggests that Ukrainian attacks on Russian naval targets are probably motivated by a targeted interception campaign. This could lay the groundwork for a full-scale counteroffensive by Ukraine.

In the night from August 3rd to 4th, according to “Ukrainska Pravda“, an unmanned Ukrainian surface vessel rammed a Russian Olenegorsky Gornyak Ropukha-class landing ship. The representative of the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Service, Andrii Yusov, indicated that the damage to the ship was significant and that it would not be operational for an indefinite period of time.

“Ukrainska Pravda” refers to the British Ministry of Defense and states that it noted that images of the ship show that it has a significant skew. This could mean that the USV attack had caused considerable damage or that repair attempts had failed. In addition, it is reported that this particular vessel, the Olenegorsky Gornyak, is part of Russia’s Northern Fleet, but has recently taken on transport duties between Russia and occupied Crimea due to a disruption at the Kerch Bridge.

Kiev weakens Russia’s Black Sea control

Furthermore, “Ukrainska Pravda” reports an expansion of Ukrainian activities. While previous Ukrainian efforts focused mainly on land targets, Ukraine now appears to be targeting maritime targets more heavily. According to the report, Ukrainian officials emphasized that this targeted interdiction campaign was intended to weaken Russian defense and logistics capabilities and thus create better conditions for future counteroffensives. This is reminiscent of strategies from the previous year, when Ukrainian forces successfully advanced during counteroffensives in Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts.

Image: Kora27, Large landing ship of Project 775 Olenegorskiy Gornyak (Olenegorskiy Miner), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, (no changes made).

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