Status: 26/09/2023, 13:43 p.m.
By: Stefan Krieger
A Ukrainian missile strike hits the heart of the Russian Navy. The Russian elite sees the war as a catastrophic mistake.
Moscow – After the attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in Crimea, even leading propagandists from Russian state TV expressed concern about Moscow's ability to repel Ukrainian missiles - the hit is making waves in Russia.
Former Kremlin adviser Sergei Markov said in an initial assessment that the incident showed "a clear escalation of attacks" by Western-supplied missiles and drones. "The air defense of the Russian army clearly needs serious reinforcements," Markov wrote on Telegram, calling the attack "Ukraine's largest attack on Crimea since the beginning of the war."
Warning to Ukraine's allies
Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the channel RT (Russia Today) and a regular guest on Russian state television, wrote on Telegram that the blow was carried out by the collective West. She issued a warning to Kyiv's allies in the Ukraine war. "The escalation will continue exponentially until we are forced to give them all an ultimatum that we will treat them as participants from now on," Simonyan wrote. She added that Ukraine's allies should be treated as military adversaries.
September 22, 2023: Missiles hit the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. © IMAGO/Sergei Malgavko
Sergei Mardan, presenter of Russian state television, described the hit on the fleet headquarters as a "crushing blow to the entire Russian elite", which, in his opinion, wants to "freeze" the conflict in the fall of 2023. Mardan wrote on Telegram that the Russian elite does not want to fight and considers a large-scale invasion a catastrophic mistake.
"The ideal path for them is a 'limited' military defeat of Russia," Mardan said. "We just have to prove that we can't win." He added that Friday's attacks destroyed the myth that "Crimea has been captured without a single shot since 2014."
Attack on Sevastopol with cruise missiles
Brady Africk, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, posted satellite images of the aftermath of the impact on X (formerly Twitter). Smoke rising from the building could be seen on it. Africk pointed out that videos showed Storm Shadow and SCALP cruise missiles supplied to Ukraine by France and Britain hitting the building.
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Andrei Kortunov, an adviser to the Russian Foreign Ministry and director of the Russian Council for International Affairs, classified the attacks as psychologically significant at best. He does not believe "that they really cause much damage militarily": "No real critical military targets were hit," Kortunov said on the BBC radio program "Today". "The damage, at least according to the reports we have received, is quite limited." (skr)