In the context of the looming new phase of the war, in which the most active hostilities will most likely indeed move to the south, the concentration of Russian troops and military equipment in the Zaporizhia NPP area is natural and will certainly play a more special role. In practice, this will probably be the most protected place where the occupying forces can relatively easily deploy their reserve formations, designed to thwart the expected counteroffensive in the occupied Kherson region. Here, the Russians could easily deploy long-range air defense systems to cover the entire southern front. From here, they are already carrying out massive strikes with “Grad” missile systems on Nikopol, located on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River.
In recent days, Kyiv’s forces have received a sudden surge of motivation and fighting spirit as a result of several surprise operations, the details of which are still shrouded in fog. On Tuesday, Ukrainian media and Telegam channels reported the explosion of a Russian weapons depot in the Novoolekseevka region, located 150 km from the front line in close proximity to the administrative border between eastern Kherson Oblast and the annexed Crimean Peninsula.
The important detail in this case is that all HIMARS and M270 ammunition known to have been given to Ukraine hit targets at a distance of no more than 85-90 km. This means that the Kyiv army either received prototypes of the experimental long-range ER GMLRS missiles, or already has ATACMS tactical missiles with a range of up to 300 km (which the US swore not to provide due to the risk of escalation) or used modification of its Neptune anti-ship missiles or some other own development – for example a prototype of the Grim-2 system.
Speculation on the subject intensified later that day after two giant explosions destroyed an as yet undetermined number of Russian warplanes in the area of the “Saki” airbase near the town of Novofedorovka on the western coast of Crimea. The affected target is located at least 200 km from the nearest territory controlled by the Ukrainian army. And although it is not at all clear whether it was a missile strike, the fact that we are witnessing the first large-scale explosion of a Russian military facility on the territory of Crimea is a serious enough blow to both the reputation and the motivation of the Russian armed forces. Since we are talking about two large and 10 smaller explosions, separated from each other by a significant distance, the Russian official version of an accident due to careless handling of aviation ammunition in practice sounds unconvincing and laughable.