was shot down by the Ukrainian AA defense but three of them hit the city center. The
Officers‘ House was targeted. It is a building
where the cultural events used to take place
but in the past couple of months mourning
ceremonies for the fallen Ukrainina pilots
were held there as well. Besides this cultural establishment the neighboring administrative building and the parking lot in front
of it were hit. The Russian missiles killed 24
civilians including three little children.
There is nothing new about this. The rocket attacks on the Ukrainian cities were
the Russian revenge for sinking the cruiser Moscow – even though according to the
official Russian statement the Ukrainians
had nothing to do with it and the ship sank
as a result of a fire caused by negligence.
For fear of the Ukrainian rockets the
Russians started to withdraw majority of
their ships from Sevastopol in Crimea to
Novorossiisk in the eastern part of the Black
Sea. They also started to rehearse the Crimean bridge defense. This bridge connects
the penninsula with the Russian mainland
over the Kerch strait. The smoke screen
they practiced raised the eyebrows though.
The efficiency of such a screen against the
moderna weapons that do not need the optical guidence is rather questionable and then
they somehow forgot to close the bridge for
the civilian traffic resulting in several accidents due to the dense smoke.
A Kalibr missile shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces during an attack on the town of Vinnytsia.
Small losses in the air
The airplane losses on both sides correspond to the long range rocket shelling
tactics. They dropped significantly in comparison to the intense deployment during
the first months of war. Not that they were
deployed less but practically neither side
crosses the frontlines. During the heaviest
fighting for Severodonetsk and Lysychansk
in Luhansk area the Ukrainian air force
flew more than 20 missions daily in this
sector – quite a decent number for an air
force which according to the Russian claims
was completely destroyed during the first
days of war (and several times afterwards).
However the Ukrainian helicopters and
Su-25 fighter—bombers completely adopted the Russian tactics to fire their unguided
missiles on the ballistic trajectory from the
safe distance. They perform as an airborne
rocket launcher. Needless to say such an
application of the air unguided missiles is
extremely inaccurate and its effect is rather
phsycological – it boosts morale of the own
troops who can see their air force in action
and forces the enemy to take cover at least.
During the month of our focus two confirmed
aerial kills were scored, both on the Russian
side. On June 18, in the vicinity of Svitlodar,
the soldiers of the 72nd motorized division hit the Russian Su-25 with the portable
rocket Igla. Pilot ejected and became POW.
His name was Andrei Fedorchuk, a former
Russian AF Major currently working as
Ukrainian Su-25 armed by missiles with inscriptions expressing revenge for the attack on Vinnytsia.
a mercenary for so called Wagners. His
monthly pay was 205 000 rubles, an equivalent of approximately 3500 USD. Out of
curiosity - for a better orientation he had
a Garmin GPS device taped in the cockpit
and there was another navigational app on
his smartphone. It is already third or fourth
„Wagner’s“ Su-25 shot down by Ukrainians
but for the first time they captured the mercenary pilot alive.
Another Russian airplane hit, as recorded
on video, was scored by the Ukrainian soldiers on June 27 firing the British portable
Martlet missile. They hit Ka-52 helicopter
which deployment in Ukraine turned into its
graveyard. At least 16 have been destroyed.
During the last moth more losses were reported besides the aircraft shot down by the
enemy. The effort to avoid the Ukrainian AA
fire by flying as low as possible backfired on
two Russian Su-25 and one Mi-8 helicopter
which crashed after hitting the electrical lines. There are combat losses on the Ukrainian side as well, in all cases documented
and therefore confirmed there were UAVs.
On June 29, in the Russian Kursk area, T-141
drone was destroyed and on July 3, in the
same sector two Tu-143. There were the old,
Soviet-era reconnaissance equipment. It is
possible that Ukrainians intented to deploy
them as kamikaze drones to attack importonat ground targets. They have executed
several missions like that.
The Ukrainians use not only HIMARS rocket
launchers but all available means to attack
the ammunition and fuel dumps in Donbas
or occupied territories in the south. Targets
within the 155 mm caliber artillery range are
shelled by howitzers. The drones are deployed on more remote targets. While during
the first months of war the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 was very successful there are different conditions on the Donbas front. The
Russians concentrated a lot of electronic
warfare equipment there to jam the signals
and also concentrated their AA defenses
there. Previously Bayraktars easily achieved success against poorly defended Russian columns which is not possible in Donbas. The electronic jamming eliminates the
smaller drones and even thought Bayraktars make it through they are met by AA fire.
Therefore the Ukrainains had to adapt. To
attack they launch the kamikaze drones