From the front lines in Ukraine, gripping combat footage emerges as Kyiv’s forces execute their counteroffensive, relentlessly hunting valuable Russian weapons systems that are vital for Moscow’s defensive efforts.
Since early June, Ukraine’s long-awaited counterattack operation has been in full swing. Though progress has been gradual and casualties high, Kyiv’s officials urge patience among foreign partners. The operation is proceeding according to plan, with signs suggesting that the erosion of Russia’s combat capabilities is as significant as the territorial advancement, if not more so.
Recently, a video released by the Armed Forces of Ukraine showcased the destruction of a Russian surface-to-air (SAM) anti-aircraft system, possibly a Buk-M2 (NATO reporting name “Grizzly”), and its accompanying 9A316 TEL and 9S36-series radar. While the Ukrainian forces identified it as a Buk-M3 SAM (“Viking” in its export form and “Gollum” in its naval form), some analysts have challenged this claim, noting the absence of cannisterized tubes associated with the more modern launcher.
This crucial video was recorded by a drone hovering over the tree line near Novopetrykivka village, situated near the intense southern front where Ukrainian and Russian forces are fiercely engaged. Kyiv’s forces are relentlessly searching for weak points in this area, aiming to break through towards the occupied city of Melitopol and the Sea of Azov coastline.
In the footage, the first shell, fired by Ukraine’s 15th Artillery Reconnaissance Brigade, precisely hits and demolishes the radar system. A second shell promptly lands near the Buk launcher, triggering a series of secondary explosions as its missiles detonate.
Dismantling high-value Russian weapons systems and ammunition depots forms the crux of Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar emphasized the significance of weakening the enemy’s ability to defend itself, revealing the impressive progress in destroying enemy ammunition depots and incapacitating Russian troops.
The prevalence of short- and medium-range anti-aircraft systems has made aerial operations a challenging endeavor for both sides. While Russia initially aimed to secure air superiority over Ukraine during its February 2022 invasion, the resolute Ukrainian pilots and Russian inefficiency foiled this plan.
The ongoing contest for control of the skies has resulted in relatively static ground combat. Infantry squads supported by artillery hold fixed positions, while airstrikes with various aircraft and missiles continue unabated.
Both Russian and Ukrainian artillery and drone teams are engaged in the pursuit of enemy SAMs, hoping to create openings for attack aircraft. According to Ukraine, they have successfully destroyed 460 Russian anti-aircraft systems since February 2022, a figure yet to be independently verified.
Kyiv continues its diplomatic efforts to secure NATO-made aircraft support in the conflict. While there is a NATO consensus for Ukraine to receive American-made F-16 fighter jets eventually, the actual deployment awaits the training of the first batch of pilots and the establishment of necessary ground infrastructure.
The first group of Ukrainian pilots is expected to commence training in August, with instruction anticipated to last several months. As Ukraine’s counteroffensive rages on, the world watches with bated breath, witnessing a nation’s unwavering determination to defend its sovereignty and embrace a future free from the shackles of aggression.