Ukraine Situation Report: Kyiv Unleashes New Wave Of Cruise Missiles On Crimea

Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG cruise missiles were reportedly at the forefront of the latest wave of Ukrainian strikes against Crimea.

byThomas Newdick|
Crimea Cruise missile attack
via X


The latest wave of Ukrainian strikes against targets in Russian-occupied Crimea reportedly hit a command post of the Black Sea Fleet, among others targets, on Wednesday morning. The Ukrainian military intelligence service described the attacks as successful, but provided few additional details, while Russian authorities claimed that they had repelled a missile strike on Sevastopol and had brought down multiple Ukrainian drones.

Numerous videos indicate that air-launched Storm Shadow and/or SCALP-EG cruise missiles were apparently used in the attacks, these weapons being launched from Ukrainian Air Force Su-24 Fencer strike/reconnaissance aircraft.

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Speaking to the Kyiv Post, a spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence, Andriy Yusov, said: “Missile strikes are being launched on the military facilities of the invaders in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Crimea.” 

“The planned work of the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine continues.”

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, provided the following account of the strikes in a statement on the Telegram messaging app:

“According to updated information, our air defense services repelled a missile attack on Sevastopol. Now everything is calm in the city. Information on possible damage from fallen parts of downed missiles and casualties is being clarified. All emergency services are operating.”

Razvozhayev had previously reported fires started in Verkhnyosadove and Kacha, presumed to be the result of wreckage from downed drones, several of which he said were brought down by air defenses near Sevastopol. At least one video posted to social media showed a column of smoke rising over Verkhnyosadove.

Meanwhile, social media accounts described explosions being heard near Inkerman, as well as near the airbases of Belbek and Kacha, and in Sevastopol’s Southern Bay, home to the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.

This is just the latest round in a new cruise missile campaign directed against southern Crimea. Other recent strikes have targeted high-profile objectives such as the dry dock at the naval port of Sevastopol that contained a submarine and amphibious landing ship and S-400 air defense systems, also on the peninsula.

Before we head into the latest from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on our previous rolling coverage here.

The Latest

On the battlefield, the latest update from the U.K. Ministry of Defense claims that, in the past five days, Ukrainian forces have secured the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, approximately 5 miles to the south of Bakhmut, the city in the Donetsk Oblast that was the scene of fierce fighting overall months until falling into Russian hands earlier this summer.

As the U.K. MOD notes, success here is significant since it brings Ukrainian forces closer to the T 05-13 road, which provides one of the main supply routes into Bakhmut from the south. The report adds that recent redeployments of Russian airborne forces from Bakhmut to Zaporizhzhia have likely weakened Russia’s defenses around Bakhmut, although Russia “continues to hold the railway line which runs along an embankment between Klishchiivka and the T 05-13, creating a readily defendable obstacle.”

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S.-based non-profit, also provides evidence of Ukrainian progress south of Bakhmut, drawing upon reports from the Ukrainian General Staff of assaults in this area, as well as claims of heavy losses inflicted on the Russian opposition. Meanwhile, the ISW quotes Russian sources with claims that fighting was continuing as of September 19 near Klishchiivka, Andriivka, and Kurdyumivka and that most of Andriivka and Klishchiivka are now contested “gray zones.”

The United Kingdom has confirmed it will supply “tens of thousands” more artillery shells to Ukraine this year. The U.K. Ministry of Defense announced the move yesterday.

Ukraine’s demand for air defense systems is something we have explored on several occasions in the past. Speaking on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, said air defense will remain Ukraine’s “greatest need” in the war against Russia for the foreseeable future. His remarks came after a meeting with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, an alliance of 54 supporting Kyiv by sending military equipment. Secretary Austin said: “Air defense will continue to be Ukraine’s greatest need to protect the skies, its civilians, and its cities as well as innocent people far away from the battlefield.”

The next U.S. military aid package for Ukraine is expected to be announced tomorrow, coinciding with a visit to Washington by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

One item that may not be included in that next tranche of weapons is the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), a ballistic missile that Ukraine has long campaigned for. You can read all about the saga here. Talking to CNN, Zelensky said that not receiving ATACMS would be a “loss.”

In the meantime, Germany and Spain, too, have announced their latest defense assistance packages for Ukraine.

Berlin has pledged a considerable quantity of artillery ammunition, including more than 30,000 155mm shells and more than 100,000 120mm rounds. Also included are M26 anti-armor projectiles for the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), and armored vehicles including undisclosed mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, plus Dachs and Bergepanzer combat engineer vehicles.

The package from Spain is said to include armored personnel carriers, rigid-hulled inflatable boats, undisclosed anti-aircraft missile launchers and anti-aircraft missiles, trucks, and ambulances.

The New York Times reports that a missile strike that hit a busy market in the Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka earlier this month, killing at least 16 civilians, may have been the result of a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile that went astray. The incident, on September 6, also injured another 32 people. The missile in question came down around 12 miles from the front lines in the Donetsk region and was blamed by Ukrainian authorities on Russia.

Drawing upon new forensic evidence from the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a group of open-source investigators, the New York Times says that the missile likely arrived from the northwest, in an area held by Ukrainian forces.

Based on an analysis of the missile’s warhead and impact damage, it seems likely the munition involved was a 9M38 missile launched by a Buk air defense system, rather than a Russian S-300 system as claimed by Ukrainian officials.

A Ukrainian Buk (SA-11 Gadfly) surface-to-air missile system. Ukrainian Ministry of Defense Ukraine MOD

“Security camera footage shows that the missile flew into Kostiantynivka from the direction of Ukrainian-held territory, not from behind Russian lines,” the newspaper reported.

Ukraine’s military has so far declined to comment on the claims but says it’s currently running an investigation of its own.

The threat of mines in the Black Sea has been a persistent concern since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and may now have claimed a new victim. According to Romanian authorities, an explosion occurred aboard the Togo-registered cargo ship Seama early on Wednesday, with reports that a mine was responsible.

The incident occurred around nine miles from the Romanian port of Sulina on the Danube River, this being the last city that this river flows through before entering the Black Sea.

“A ship under the flag of Togo, transporting cement, reported an explosion in the engine room and asked for the ship to be evacuated,” Romania’s transport minister said in a statement.

Romanian rescue services evacuated 12 crew from aboard the vessel and brought them to shore for medical checks.

Romania also says it’s deployed a minesweeper and mine-clearance divers to look for further mines in the area and has put helicopters on standby.

Since the current war began in February 2022, around 80 mines have reportedly been discovered in Romania’s territorial waters. Romanian ports on the Danube have seen a considerable uptick in maritime traffic since Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian seaports.

In the ongoing battle against Russian ‘suicide drones’ sent to attack targets in Ukraine, authorities in Kyiv have said they shot down 17 drones overnight. The Ukrainian Air Force said that Russia launched a total of 24 unmanned aerial vehicles against targets in Ukraine. One of these apparently hit an oil refinery in Kremenchuk, leading to a fire and putting a temporary stop to operations.

According to Ukraine’s state broadcaster Suspilne:

“On the night of September 20, air defense forces over Ukraine destroyed 17 drones. In total, Russian troops launched 24 unmanned aerial vehicles, the air force reported.”

“At night, the Russian army hit an oil refinery in Kremenchuk. As a result, a fire started. The work of the plant was temporarily stopped.”

“As a result of shelling in Kherson oblast, two people were killed and four others were injured. Two people were injured in Zaporizhzhia, and five in Donetsk region.”

Ukrainian drones, too, are said to have fallen victim to Russian air defenses, with a report from Reuters quoting the Russian Ministry of Defense and local officials. According to these sources, Russian air defenses destroyed Ukraine drones over the regions of Belgorod and Oryol late on Monday. Local officials claimed that there was no destruction or casualties.

Using the Telegram messaging app, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that two drones were destroyed over the Oryol region in the southwest of the country and one over the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.

Ukraine continues to use other means to hit targets across the border in the Russian Federation, at least according to claims from authorities in Russia. The governor of the Belgorod Oblast in Russia, Vyacheslav Gladkov, reported today that cross-border shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces has left three settlements in the region without power. Gladkov also said that one person had been killed and another injured, by shelling near the village of Maksimovka.

The Russian Su-34 Fullback strike fighter fleet has suffered heavy losses in the war in Ukraine, due in no small part to its extensive use in the conflict. The latest example of Su-34 attrition, however, appears to have been non-combat-related. Reports today came in of a Su-34 crashing during a training flight in the Voronezh region, which borders the Ukrainian region of Luhansk. The two pilots are said to have ejected, with unconfirmed reports that the aircraft’s landing gear failed to properly deploy.

Speaking of Luhansk, the following footage is said to have been taken in that region, although the date is unconfirmed. Regardless, it clearly shows considerable destruction meted out to a Russian armored push that is said to have been heading toward the village of Novoiehorivka. Among the vehicles that can be seen destroyed here are, according to the Oryx open-source intelligence group, one T-90M and three T-72B3 main battle tanks, as well as a BMP-3 and two BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles.

There are reports that a new kind of first-person view (FPV) loitering munition is now being used in combat by Ukraine, namely the Zugzwang, which is the product of the Escadrone company, a non-profit group organized specifically to manufacture attack drones of this type. The video below purportedly shows a Zugzwang being used to target a Russian 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm self-propelled artillery system. Although fitted with a ‘cope cage’ to counter drone attacks, the loitering munition successfully destroys the Gvozdika after the second hit.

Loitering munitions continue to make their mark in Russian hands, too, as evidenced by the video below that purportedly shows a Ukrainian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter being hit by a Lancet loitering munition. The location is said to be Kryvyi Rih International Airport in central Ukraine, reportedly more than 40 miles away from the closest Russian positions.

Russia apparently also has a new loitering munition in the works, the izdeliye 54 (Product 54) seemingly having broken cover during a visit to a drone manufacturer by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company responsible, Aeroscan, also announced the new drone on the Telegram app. According to the firm, the izdeliye 54 is a long-range loitering munition with an enlarged warhead designed to defeat enemy military equipment and manpower. Aeroscan claims the drone “uses the latest artificial intelligence algorithms and is currently undergoing final testing before being put into production.” Continuing Russian drone developments could also point to a likely restart of Russia’s assault on Ukrainian power infrastructure this winter.

Unmanned systems are also playing a merciful role in the conflict, as seen in this video of a Ukrainian-developed robotic, tracked stretcher. As well as taking casualties off the battlefield, the system is said to be intended to move ammunition, food, and other items. The robotic stretcher is said to require only two or three soldiers to effect a medical evacuation, compared to the seven human medics normally needed.

To wrap up today’s coverage, some of the most extraordinary footage we have seen of the Ukrainian Army Aviation’s Mi-24 Hind assault helicopter in action. Operating at the very low level to which we have become accustomed by now, the Mi-24 is seen ejecting flares as well as lobbing unguided rockets right past the drone recording the video. These kinds of lofted rocket delivery tactics, forced by the very dense ground-based air defense environment in which these helicopters operate, are something that we have discussed before at The War Zone.

That‘s it for now. We‘ll update this story when there‘s more news to report about Ukraine.

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