Ukraine Situation Report: Russia Rains Incendiaries On Bakhmut

It appears that the Russians have launched a large incendiary weapons attack on the heavily embattled city in Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.

Video shot from a drone has emerged showing the tell-tale droplets of brightly glowing incendiary munitions purportedly burning all over a portion of Bakhmut.

The video has been geolocated to Bakhmut by our friend Evergreen Intel.

Russian troops have previously used Grad incendiary rockets there in December and October.

The Russians may have also used these incendiary munitions against the defenders of the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol in May 2022 and in various other locations across the Ukrainian battlefield.

The Russians apparently used incendiary munitions against the defenders of Azovstal a year ago in Mariupol. (Twitter screencap)

By covering a wide area with very hot burning droplets, incendiaries lay waste to some structures, certain kinds of materiel, foliage, vehicles, and especially flesh.

Block-by-block fighting among the ruins of a once-thriving coal-mining city has proved extremely costly to both sides. Russia increasing the use of these horrific area weapons in Bakhmut would not come as a major surprise as their advance has stalled and a major Ukrainian counteroffensive looms.

We will keep an eye on this developing situation and update our story with any new information that comes in.

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

The Latest

Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman pushed back Friday on assertions that a newly provided Patriot air defense missile downed a Russian Kinzhal ballistic missile over Kyiv yesterday. The assertion, by a Ukrainian defense news publication and open source intelligence trackers, would represent a major milestone for Ukraine, which has long been seeking more sophisticated air defense systems like the Patriot to defeat swift-moving ballistic missiles it previously could not.

“I have already denied it a thousand times, you should have seen it yesterday,” Col. Yuri Ignat told the Ukrainian Suspline media outlet. “There was a possibility of use, but no ballistic missiles were recorded. What some heads of military administrations are saying, they have already received for it.”

Ignat was reacting to an analysis by the Ukrainian Defense Express media outlet which wrote that images emerging on social media pointed to the downing of a Kh-47 Kinzhal ballistic missile. It’s the kind of missile – along with the Kh-22 supersonic cruise missiles and the S-300 air defense missile being used as a surface-to-surface strike weapon – that Ignat has previously said Ukraine cannot defend against without Patriots because of its speed. You can read more about that in our coverage here.

The Kinzhal (Russian for dagger) is an Iskander short-range ballistic missile that is specially adapted for air-launch. They are fired by MiG-31 Foxhound heavy interceptors modified to carry a single such missile. Given the range and speed of these weapons, a nationwide alert goes off each time a Foxhound is spotted taking off in neighboring territory, Ignat told reporters in March.

In its analysis, Defense Express pointed out that one of the photos that emerged on social media “shows the nose fairing, which is as similar as possible to the one used in the Kh-47 ‘Dagger’ missile with a complex shape of sharp diameter transitions.”

The Ukraine Weapons Tracker OSINT group reached the same conclusion as Defense Express about the debris indicating the wreckage of a ballistic missile, most likely a Kinzhal.

“The debris matches the unitary warhead assembly used in Kh-47M2 & Iskander-series missiles,” they tweeted Friday.

The assessments made by Defense Express and Ukraine Weapons Tracker came a day after Ukrainian officials stated that missiles were part of the latest barrage against Kyiv on Thursday. It was a frantic day that also involved the downing by Ukraine of one of its own TB-2 drones. You can read more about that here.

“The Russians attacked Kyiv with the use of Shahed-type barrage ammunition and missiles, probably of the ballistic type,” Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration, also known by its Ukrainian acronym, KMVA, wrote on the organization’s Telegram channel Thursday. “(The final type of missiles used will be determined only after the examination of the remains). According to preliminary information, in the airspace of Kyiv by our air defense forces, all enemy missiles and UAVs were destroyed!”

The Ukrainian Air Force was apparently displeased by both the analysis of the Kinzhal and the statements made by the KMVA about a ballistic missile perhaps being in the mix of weapons that struck Kyiv on Thursday.

“There will be no comments or power-ups of Air Force speakers today!” it said on its Telegram channel Friday. “For additional up-to-date, operational and reliable information that the enemy will use in the war against Ukraine, please refer to the following information resources.”

The Air Force then listed the URL for Defense Express as well as the KVMA Telegram channel link.

“We apologize for the inconvenience!”

As we wrote about back in December, the Patriots are likely a prime target for Russia, something Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov threatened at the time. Given the somewhat static nature of these batteries, at least one of which is most likely defending Kyiv, they would be a prime high-value target for Kinzhal missiles.

Yesterday we told you about a spate of suspected drone attacks on Russian oil depots inside its own borders and the Crimean peninsula it has occupied since 2014. That run apparently continued today. Russian media reported another Ukrainian drone attack on the Ilsky Refinery in Russia’s Krasnodar Oblast, across the Kerch Strait from Crimea, according to Russian media.

“Fire at the Ilsky oil refinery in the Krasnodar Territory on video,” the Russian MASH news outlet reported on its Telegram channel Friday. “This is the second attack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on oil storage facilities in two days.”

“Previously, the UAV flew into one of the installations, a fire started. No casualties were reported.”

MASH claimed the refinery was attacked by “a group of saboteurs. According to our information, they were detained. They tried to escape from the place of emergency through the pipeline. Refinery employees say that saboteurs blew up the fifth installation with the help of IEDs. The casualties are still unknown.”

The War Zone could not independently verify that information.

Another tranche of Ukrainian troops is being trained on Western armor, in this case 80 Leopard 1 tanks donated by Denmark and Germany.

Those tanks are scheduled to be operational in Ukraine by next month, the U.S.-funded Radio Svaboda news outlet reported on its Telegram channel Friday.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu flew to Ukraine Friday to conduct a readiness inspection, according to the Russian Defense Ministry Telegram channel.

“The Deputy Minister of Defence Colonel General A. Kuzmenkov who is responsible for the material and technical support of the Russian Armed Forces, presented General of the Army Sergei Shoigu with new batches of modern tanks, armored fighting vehicles, special equipment and motor vehicles supplied by enterprises of the military-industrial complex to supply the groups of Russian troops,” according to the MoD.

Shoigu “also inspected storage and repair bases for weapons and military equipment withdrawn from combat areas.”

And, as we wrote earlier today, in an apparent response to the outburst by Prigozhin, Shoigu also instructed Colonel General A. Kuzmenkov to “keep under special control the issues of continuous and rhythmic supply of the groups of troops in the areas of the special military operation with all the necessary weapons and military equipment.”

As part of its ongoing Drone Army initiative, Ukraine has trained 10,000 drone operators, Mykhailo Federov, Minister of Digital Transformation, reported, according to the Kyiv Post. You can read more about Ukrainian drone operations in our story here.

Speaking of drones, watch this Ukrainian First Person Video (FPV) drone take out a Russian individual racing down the road on a quad bike.  The FPVs are single-use fast quadcopters controlled through VR-goggles that can strike highly dynamic targets.

Those drones are becoming more and more popular with Ukrainian troops, as you can see from this image below.

That’s it for now. We’ll update this story when we have more news to report about Ukraine.

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Howard Altman Avatar

Howard Altman

Senior Staff Writer

Howard is a Senior Staff Writer for The War Zone, and a former Senior Managing Editor for Military Times. Prior to this, he covered military affairs for the Tampa Bay Times as a Senior Writer. Howard's work has appeared in various publications including Yahoo News, RealClearDefense, and Air Force Times.