Satellite images confirm strike on Russian military communications hub in Crimea

Comparative satellite pictures from before and after the night of May 24th reveal craters, burned areas and apparent destruction of buildings and infrastructure at the site, providing evidence corroborating Kyiv’s reports of hitting the strategic installation.

Newly released satellite photographs appear to substantiate Ukraine’s claims of a successful strike against a major Russian military communications centre on the Crimean peninsula, delivering another symbolic blow to Moscow’s forces on the annexed territory.

The high-resolution images, published Friday by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, show visible damage at a suspected Russian communications facility operated by the FSB Border Guard Service on the outskirts of Alushta, a town on Crimea’s southern coastline.

Comparative satellite pictures from before and after the night of May 24th reveal craters, burned areas and the apparent destruction of buildings and infrastructure at the site, providing evidence corroborating Kyiv’s reports of hitting the strategic installation.

While Ukraine has not officially confirmed carrying out the attack, Russian sources acknowledged defending against an aerial raid in the vicinity of Alushta around that timeframe. Moscow’s state media described it as an attempted drone strike that was repelled by air defences.

However, the satellite imagery suggests the assault was more substantial than Russia portrayed. Analysts say the level of damage indicates the strike likely involved more potent weapons like missiles or ammunition capable of punching through the facility’s defences.

The targeted site is assessed to be part of Russia’s communications and electronic warfare network supporting its military operations in occupied Crimea and across the Black Sea region. Such hubs play a vital role in maintaining secure lines for disseminating orders, relaying intelligence and coordinating air defences.

Located around 10 miles from the Crimean coastline, the sprawling facility featured numerous buildings, equipment and what appears to be a series of radio transmission masts or towers before the strike, according to analysis of past satellite imagery.

The apparent successful strike spotlights both the increasing boldness and improving precision of Ukraine’s long-range attack capabilities. It also demonstrates Ukraine’s continued ability to strike sensitive Russian targets across the occupied peninsula despite its formidable air defences.

Just last month, Kyiv claimed responsibility for a drone attack that caused significant damage to Russia’s Crimean Bridge, a critical supply artery connecting the peninsula to mainland Russia. In August 2022, Ukraine used anti-radiation missiles to take out several Russian radars on the peninsula.

Such strikes aim to undermine Russia’s battlefield superiority in electronic warfare and reconnaissance on the Black Sea coast – setting favourable conditions for Ukraine’s anticipated counter-offensive to try and break through Russian defensive lines in the south.

In response to the latest reported attack, Russia will likely redouble efforts to further fortify Crimea’s air defences and harden key command and communications infrastructure. But as Ukraine’s precision-strike capabilities increase, Moscow may find shielding such strategic assets from long-range attacks an increasingly difficult challenge.