The Russian-Ukrainian conflict after 36 hours of fighting

While the Russian offensive against Ukraine began a little over 36 hours ago, the information concerning the conduct of operations by the two belligerents, but also the reality of the fighting relayed by the OSINT community and by the few journalists who remain on the spot, already make it possible to draw the first lessons of this war, but also of the operational capacities of the two armies.

More than 160 ballistic and cruise missiles fired in 24 hours

If the Russian forces used Kalibr cruise missiles fired from corvettes and submarines positioned in the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea during their intervention in Syria, this is the first time that they have specifically employed a strategy long-range suppression comparable to that traditionally implemented by the United States. Thus, the Russian forces would have launched no less than a hundred Iskander short-range ballistic missiles during the first day of combat, as well as about sixty Kalibr-type cruise missiles mainly launched from ships deployed in the Black Sea. . These strikes made it possible to eliminate certain strategic sites, and to weaken the Ukrainian defense and its coordination.

Ukrainian air bases were particularly targeted by these strikes, 11 of them having been neutralized in the first hours of the engagement. The main air defenses of the country, in particular the S-300 missile batteries, were also eliminated, without it being possible to determine precisely whether this was the result of ballistic or cruise missiles, or of air strikes supported by electronic warfare. In fact, the Russian forces obtained, in less than 12 hours, air superiority over the whole of Ukrainian territory, a decisive advantage in the pursuit of operations. However, it seems that all the initial Ukrainian targets were not destroyed.

Bombardment of Kyiv by ballistic missile

Thus, some videos posted today still show Russian missiles intercepted by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense. Even more surprisingly, Ukraine managed to launch a Toshka ballistic missile against the Rostov air base, which apparently damaged two Su-30s. It appears that the missile managed to penetrate the anti-aircraft and anti-missile shield deployed by Russian forces with 35 anti-aircraft brigades surrounding Ukraine. In addition, several Russian aircraft were shot down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defences, without it being known whether these were portable missiles or larger devices. It also seems that several cruise missiles would have been intercepted even today by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense around Kyiv, which supposes that at least part of these defenses survived the Russian attacks.

Fronts with very different dynamics

The overall dynamics of the Russian offensive now appear clearly, after 36 hours of combat. 4 main axes of offensive emerge indeed, and present very different dynamics from each other.

The Eastern Front
Facing Donbass, it was the most likely axis of the Russian offensive. If many attacks and bombardments have indeed been recorded, this is the front on which the Russian forces have made the least progress. It is not objectively known whether this is the result of increased resistance from the Ukrainian forces, or a reduced push from the Russians themselves. It is true that the Ukrainian forces positioned on this front anticipated a massive offensive, and were particularly well entrenched. It is particularly interesting that despite fierce fighting, the coastal city of Mariopol remains at this time in the hands of the Ukrainians, while it constitutes a strategic position for the control of the Sea of ​​Azov. Some recent unchecked information would indicate that a major amphibious operation would currently take place to precisely encircle this city and try to retake it.

several Russian tank carrier assault ships were deployed prior to the start of the fighting in the Black Sea

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