Russia Strikes Military HQ In Odessa After Ukraine Attacks Crimea With US-Provided ATACMS

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, May 02, 2024 - 06:45 AM

In yet another among the latest signs that Moscow is escalating its war against Ukraine, pushing sustained strikes deeper into its territory, Russian forces have mounted a large attack against Ukraine's military headquarters for the southern region. 

The ministry of defense confirmed an attack on Ukraine’s Operational Command South headquarters, coming amid stepped up operations against the southern port city of Odessa. RIA Novosti separately confirmed the attack on the Ukrainian HQ in the center Odessa, citing a ballistic missile strike on the city and three explosions, which reportedly killed three people.

This week a Gothic-style building in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa was also struck.

Just last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu pledged that his forces will step up attacks on warehouses and logistics hubs with West-supplied weaponry. Moscow has also said it will push back the front lines deeper into Ukrainian territory in order to better prevent NATO-supplied longer range missiles from striking inside Russia. It seems the next big target is Odessa, which would greatly expand Russian military hold in the south.

But Russia also seems to be responding to the increased attacks against Crimea. On Tuesday Russian officials said that the peninsula came under attack with US-provided Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).

It was revealed only within the last week that these long-range systems were secretly transferred to Kiev by Washington in March. Politico previously documented that the White House "quietly approved the transfer of a number of Army Tactical Missile Systems with a range of nearly 200 miles, said a senior Biden administration official and two U.S. officials, allowing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s forces to put at risk more Russian targets inside Ukrainian sovereign territory."

A prior, older version of the ATAMCS missiles were sent last year, but the range was reportedly limited to 100 miles. President Biden and his officials throughout the early phase of the war warned Kiev against attacks on Russian territory but this caution seems to have been abandoned by the US administration.

Governor of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov said of the Tuesday attack that the inbound ATACMS were shot down by Russian air defenses. Russia's defense ministry (MoD) specified it shot down six of the missiles. 

Additionally, French-made projectiles were also reportedly shot down elsewhere in the country, with TASS reporting that "Russian air defense systems have taken down 29 Ukrainian drones and five French-made AASM Hammer smart bombs over 24 hours in the special military operation in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Uragan rocket was also shot down."

Ukraine's skies remain by and large undefended and unprotected, which is why President Zelensky is essentially begging for more Patriot anti-air defense systems from the US and Europe. Kiev further wants to see the F-16 program hurried along. 

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Ilya Evlash on Wednesday told a public broadcaster that the first batch F-16 jets could arrive as early as within weeks, after Orthodox Easter (celebrated on May 5 this year); however, other observers have said that this timetable is a stretch and remains unrealistic.