Ukraine Situation Report: UK MoD Says Two More Russian Ships Were Hit In Missile Raid

The U.K. Ministry of Defense is claiming satellite imagery proves that two additional ships were damaged in the Ukrainian cruise missile strikes in Sevastopol on March 24th. This is in addition to another Ropucha class landing ship that we confirmed via satellite imagery had sustained at least some form of damage.

Ukraine originally claimed at least one other Ropucha was damaged, so the one shown in the MoD’s satellite imagery would align with that claim. As for the Yury Ivanov class intelligence ship the same assessment says was damaged, it has been targeted by Ukraine before, so an attempt to take it out again would not be surprising. These ships can collect multiple types of intelligence, with their signals intelligence suite being most concerning for Ukraine’s military operations.

One especially peculiar part of the aftermath of this latest attack on the Black Sea Fleet is that we have seen no images from near these vessels on the ground or the water showing the damage. This is true even for the Ropucha class ship that has a giant scorch mark or crater on the pier next to it. It would seem that Russia is going to new lengths to keep these types of leaks from occurring, which is a tall order considering the large lines of sight that can be obtained around Sevastopol’s bay.

Before diving into more developments from the conflict in Ukraine, The War Zone readers can review our previous coverage here.

The Latest

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claims Russia may be planning a major Spring offensive. This comes as a report states Moscow’s forces have regained just 505 square kilometers (just shy of 195 square miles) since last Fall. Still, the momentum that Ukraine benefitted from months ago has now largely evaporated. The lack of new shipments of weaponry from the United States is a major factor in Ukraine’s future ability to keep Russia’s onslaught at bay as Kyiv moves to a defensive posture. Training new troops as soon as possible will be another critical variable in stopping a future offensive as Russia continues to grow its ranks ahead of the potential operation.

Work is frantically underway to reinforce the front as Kyiv’s goals change due to the realities on the battlefield.

Another mass attack by Russian missiles and drones occurred last night with energy infrastructure being among the top targets. In particular, hydroelectric facilities were struck, which is raising concerns about a much wider potential disaster if their associated dams are breached.

Yet another Russian Flanker fighter derivative was shot down yesterday. Russia’s own air defenses are thought to have been the culprit. Dramatic footage of the stricken fighter splashing down off Crimea while on fire has been making the rounds on social media and now Ukraine is also saying that Russia did this one to itself.

Ukraine took out one of Russia’s vehicles that had naval anti-submarine rocket launchers grafted onto them.

Like Ukraine, Russia is increasingly experimenting with, and in some cases operationally leveraging on a consistent basis, unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) at the front. A still image from a video captured by a drone seen below two of these tracked vehicles equipped with AGS-17 grenade launchers operating near Bakhmut.

A highly intact Storm Shadow cruise missile has been retrieved by Russia after crashing somewhere in territory it controls. This is by no means the first time this has happened, you can read about another instance and its implications here, but the accompanying video is of interest and it is far more detailed than past recovery clips. Russia will use these failed rounds for intelligence exploitation. Although very capable, the Storm Shadow isn’t that new of a weapon so the potential for technological loss isn’t massive. Still, considering Russia is looking for any countermeasure it can deploy to thwart these weapons, any new insights would certainly be welcome, as would material, manufacturing, and engineering sciences intel.

First-person view (FPV) drones continue to rain hell on both sides of the front lines. We are so used to seeing videos of individual soldiers picked off by these weapons that we are being desensitized to the tactical revolution they represent. The videos, many shot by spotter drones that work in hunter-killer teams with FPV drones, are gruesome, with maimed men dying in agony in the frigid mud, or in one particularly horrific clip, running around on fire looking for a way to extinguish themselves. View description highly advised:

The soldier on fire video will not embed and can be seen directly on X here.

Ukraine is having trouble equipping all their FPV drones — they want to produce 1,000,000 this year — with warheads of some kind. Often these consist of improvised repurposed munitions. The video below shows how these are ‘harvested’ from cluster shells, which can be an incredibly dangerous job. You can read more about this established practice here.

Purpose-built shaped-charge warheads optimized for FPV drones are also being built. This would improve the lethality and performance of the drones that host the charges.

Russia is also fielding a similar type of purpose-built FPV drone warhead:

We are now seeing far more elaborate drone screens or “cope cages” on Russian vehicles to try to counter FPV drones’ high degree of maneuverability.

Omnidirectional jammer assemblies that leverage multiple emitters arranged in a ring are apparently in use on Russian vehicles in an attempt to better defend against FPV drone attacks. Other on-vehicle jammers used by Russia have had questionable results, including Chinese types.

The clip below shows Ukrainian recruits going through trench warfare training.

Satellite imagery shows how Russia is trading fuel for weapons with North Korea. A report from the Financial Times newspaper in the United Kingdom details how tankers are being sent to Russia to get the fuel in exchange for massive numbers of artillery shells and more advanced weapons needed to fuel Moscow’s war in Ukraine. This obviously shatters U.N. sanctions regimes.

Separately, Russia’s delegation to the United Nations vetoed a resolution to extend monitoring of sanctions on North Korea yesterday. “Now, it will be more difficult for Member States to address the DPRK’s unlawful pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and sanctions evasion efforts within their jurisdictions. Russia is responsible for that,” U.S., U.K., French, South Korean, and Japanese authorities subsequently said in a joint statement.

Speaking to Russian Air Force pilots today, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the looming arrival of F-16s in Ukraine.

“We have no aggressive intentions toward [NATO] states,” Putin said. “Of course, if they [Ukrainian F-16s] are used from airfields of third countries, they become a legitimate target for us, no matter where they are located.”

Putin pledged that Russian forces would destroy the F-16s “the same way we destroy their tanks, armored vehicles, and other equipment today, including multiple-launch rocket systems” wherever they might be located and insisted they “will not change the situation on the battlefield.”

On the U.S. government side, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown told reporters yesterday that “the risk of escalation is not as high as maybe it was at the beginning” when it comes to sending Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) short-range ballistic missiles to Ukraine. The U.S. military sent a tranche of ATACMS to Ukraine last year, but had long resisted doing so in large part due to concerns about escalation. There have been reports that a new ATACMS transfer may be in the works.

Russia is delaying the delivery of S-400 air defense systems to the Indian armed forces due to the demand for the weapons in Ukraine, as well as other major factors, like sanctions. The last two of the five planned Indian S-400 units will now not be equipped until 2026 — two years later than previously agreed to. The S-400 is a critical system for India which is facing increasing territorial tension with its neighbor, China.

Russian arms exports have plummeted since the full-on invasion began with some long-time users of more advanced Russian systems, like aircraft, moving to Western types due to lack of support and spare parts.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense says Russia is forcing the change in citizenship for those living in the Ukrainian territories it has occupied since shortly after the all-out invasion began.

Finally, it appears that a mining operation went very wrong for one Russian small boat crew.

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Tyler Rogoway


Tyler’s passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.