Ukrainian forces just supposedly attempted one of the riskiest infiltration moves on Russian territory yet, announcing on Thursday a 'successful' amphibious operation in Crimea. The defense ministry's Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) said on Thursday - on the occasion of Ukraine's independence day - that special operatives conduced an amphibious landing of the Crimean peninsula under cover of night.
Unverified reports online say there were Russian casualties, while conflicting claims say that the Ukrainians took on significant casualties. But Kiev is asserting that its forces suffered no casualties. Either way, the operation seemed more for PR and propaganda purposes, as Newsweek writes of the ultra risky endeavor:
"Crimea now cannot be called a safe haven," Ivan Stupak—a former officer in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and now an adviser to the Ukrainian parliament's national security, defense and intelligence committee—told Newsweek.
A Ukrainian intelligence (GUR) spokesman further described, "The units of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense landed as part of a special operation, [and] all tasks were completed."
This reportedly happened at Crimea's Cape Tarkhankut, where the day prior to the fresh announcement of the amphibious landing Ukraine reportedly destroyed a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system.
There's speculation that the special operation landing was directly tied to the destruction of the S-400. According to more details via Reuters:
Brief and dark video footage posted alongside the statement showed a small motorboat moving through water at night near a coastline. HUR said the landing point was on the western tip of Crimea, near the settlements of Olenivka and Mayak.
"Special units on watercraft landed on the shore in the area of the Olenivka and Mayak settlements," HUR said in a statement.
It said "all goals" had been achieved and casualties inflicted on the enemy, but did not identify the goals.
This comes as Ukraine's cross-border attacks on Russian territory have become almost daily, particularly drone assaults, but really nothing has changed on the battlefield in terms of the failing counteroffensive.
Many observers have noted that bolder, risker cross-border raids smack of desperation. One online commentator quipped that landing on Crimea was a "juvenile stunt" to "hoist a flag on a house for a photo op."
Saboteurs landed in the Crimea and immediately rushed off— -- GEROMAN -- time will tell - 👀 -- (@GeromanAT) August 24, 2023
▪️The end of the video of the DRG of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which in impenetrable darkness hung a flag on a wooden house in a campsite in the west of Crimea and urgently rushed off, shooting towards civilians.
There remain conflicting claims and counterclaims concerning the overnight amphibious landing, amid the continued fog of war.