London (diplomat.so) - UK intelligence, as reported by European Pravda on February 10, has revealed that a recent strike by Ukrainian forces on the Belbek airfield in occupied Crimea has dealt a significant blow to the potential of Russian aircraft. The strike, which occurred on January 31, targeted the airfield's radar control coordination facility bunker, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
The intelligence assessment indicates that this action will likely degrade Russia's ability to coordinate air activity in the Black Sea region. This situation is expected to increase reliance on the already strained A-50 MAINSTAY aircraft fleet and exacerbate the shortage of trained personnel available to direct air operations.
Russian military doctrine heavily relies on ground command posts to coordinate air forces, particularly in scenarios like a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. UK intelligence suggests that Russian pilots and ground personnel are likely experiencing combat fatigue due to ongoing operations in Ukraine.
Furthermore, the UK intelligence warns that any further strikes on critical coordination nodes in Crimea could intensify these pressures, potentially leading to mistakes or miscalculations.
On January 31, explosions were reported in various cities in occupied Crimea, with smoke observed over the Belbek airfield. Sources within the Ukrainian Armed Forces indicated that the airfield was targeted by cruise missiles. The Ukrainian Air Force later confirmed that the strike likely damaged at least three Russian aircraft and caused casualties among personnel.
This development underscores the ongoing tensions in the region and the evolving dynamics of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.