Ukraine - Russia Invasion conflict

Russian forces have intensified their operations against Ukrainian military equipment, specifically targeting combat vehicles and artillery systems provided to Ukraine by its Western allies. A notable instance of this strategy was brought to light through photos and videos circulated on Russian social media platforms, showcasing the alleged destruction of the first Zuzana 2 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer supplied to Ukraine by Slovakia by Russian Lancet loitering munition.

In a recent update garnered from open-source intelligence and corroborated by images circulated on social media platforms, it has been revealed that Australia has made a significant contribution to Ukraine's military capabilities by supplying 14 Special Forces vehicles. These vehicles, known as the HMT Extenda Mk 2, are also utilized by the British army, where they are referred to as the Coyote.

The announcement on social media by the Ukrainian Air Force about the destruction of a command post and a missile artillery depot of the Russian forces near a military base in the Kherson region, using a JDAM-ER guided bomb, is an interesting event. The JDAM-ER (Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range) represents an advancement in guided munition technology, offering military forces the capability to precisely strike targets at a significantly increased distance compared to earlier versions of the JDAM. A series of strikes were recently conducted by Ukrainian forces against Russian air forces, but with what objective? Perhaps to pave the way for the F-16 fighter jets.

On February 23, 2024, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that Ukrainian missile units had successfully destroyed two Russian Buk-M3 air defense missile systems in the last 24 hours. However, this announcement was not accompanied by any images confirming these actions. The targets hit also reportedly included a Russian control point, three artillery systems, and an ammunition storage point.

According to a report by Voice of America (VOA) on February 28, 2024, the Ukrainian 24th Separate Brigade's soldiers have positively assessed the US-supplied M109A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzer, noting its advantages over former Soviet-era howitzers. They observed that the Paladin's extended firing range and improved protective measures mark an update in the brigade's artillery capabilities.

In the context of the ongoing international military assistance provided to Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression since February 2022, the Swedish-made CV9040 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) has garnered high praise from Ukrainian soldiers. Recognized as a pivotal asset on the battlefield, the CV9040, also known as Strf 9040 in the Swedish army, stands out for its sophisticated design and robust capabilities.

Under the "Lion's Revenge" campaign, the Lviv municipal community is set to distribute 750 FPV drones to their airborne assault divisions, as declared by Lviv's Mayor, Andriy Sadovy, quoted by Militarnyi. The initiative enabled the Lviv community to gather 10 million hryvnias to fund the acquisition of FPV drones for Ukraine's military forces. Mayor Sadovy indicated that further acquisitions of such drones are anticipated shortly, aiming to bolster the military's capability to counteract adversaries effectively.

In a recent interview with the Ukrainian Press Agency "Interfax," Major General Vadym Skibitskyi, Deputy Head of Ukraine's HUR Main Intelligence Directorate, disclosed a significant escalation along the Ukraine-Russia border. According to Skibitskyi, Russia has ramped up its deployment of Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems, positioning a total of 48 launchers close to Ukraine. This marks an increase of two additional Iskander launchers since September 2023.

On February 26, 2024, Russian soldiers from the 15th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade managed to destroy a US-supplied M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank in Ukraine for the first time. The tank, operated by the 47th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was targeted by a Lancet kamikaze drone and an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) near Berdychi, a village close to Avdiivka and Stepove.

As reported by OSINTtechnical on February 18, 2024, Russia deployed a T-55, initially adopted into service in 1958, to attack Ukrainian positions around Robotyne. However, upon closer analysis, this T-55, distinguished by a cage but lacking ERA, was likely an older T-54, adopted in 1946, as indicated by the absence of a smoke extractor at the gun's end and the likely presence of a wind cover on the turret.

Ukrainian special services launched a drone attack against the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant (NLMK), the largest steel plant in Russia, during the night of February 23-24, 2024. According to reports from Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne, the operation was jointly orchestrated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and the Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR). The strike aimed at the facility located in Lipetsk, Russia, is expected to halt its production capabilities for an extended period.

According to information published on February 24, 2024, by "Pravda" a Ukrainian newspaper, the Ukrainian armed forces shot down on February 23, 2024, one A-50U Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, crucial for the Russian forces deployed in Ukraine. It was intercepted by an old S-200 air defense missile system, NATO code-named SA-5 Gammon, developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s The primary role of the A-50U is to provide all-weather surveillance, command, control, and communications (C3) for the Russian Air Force and Navy.

On February 23, 2024, the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces unveiled footage showcasing the first combat deployment of the US-supplied M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank against Russian forces. This marks a significant milestone following the confirmation by both Ukrainian soldiers and US officials in November 2022 that all 31 Abrams tanks donated to Ukraine had reached their intended destination.

As per information shared on Russian social media on February 23, 2024, Russian soldiers from the 21st Brigade recently targeted a US-supplied M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) belonging to the Ukrainian army's 47th Mechanized Brigade near Stepove. Details surrounding the extent of damage inflicted on the ABV remain unclear, with uncertainty over whether the Russian soldiers significantly damaged or destroyed the vehicle in the strike or if they targeted it after a previous immobilization.

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has emerged as a pivotal asset in the arsenal of the Ukrainian armed forces, courtesy of substantial support from the United States. This advanced weapon system has played a crucial role in countering the Russian offensive in the Donbas region, enabling Ukrainian forces to precisely target and disrupt Russian logistics, including supply and ammunition depots.

In a video released by the Ukrainian armed forces and shared on X( Twitter) on February 21, 2024, Ukrainian soldiers are seen employing the UR-77 Mine-clearing armored vehicle to target Russian positions. Known for its specialized mine-clearing capabilities, the UR-77 Meteorit system utilizes a potent Fuel-Air Explosive (FAE) charge designed for clearing minefields, which in this instance, has been repurposed for offensive operations against enemy fortifications.

According to Praise The Steph on February 19, 2024, the Ukrainian 47th Separate Artillery Brigade has recently introduced the new 2S22 Bohdana 4.0 into active service. This updated version of the 2S22 Bohdana is mounted on a Czech Tatra 158 Phoenix 8x8 chassis and features a semi-automatic loader. Currently, the Ukrainian army possesses four variants of the Bohdana 155mm self-propelled howitzer (1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0).

A video published on February 20, 2024, by the "Ukrainian Front" on their social media account has revealed the deployment of ex-Belgian Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles (AIFVs) within the Ukrainian armed forces. This revelation points to a new facet of military support that Ukraine is receiving amidst its ongoing conflict, though not through official government channels.

On February 19, 2024, Russian forces announced and showcased for the first time the destruction of an MQM-185B jet-powered British drone, believed to be the Banshee or a similar model, through images shared on their social media platforms. This incident occurred near Novoazovsk, a strategically significant location near the border between the Donetsk region and Russia.

On February 13, 2024, the Russian company Omsktransmash, a division of UralVagonZavod, announced on Russian media the delivery of another batch of T-80BVM Model 2023 tanks to Russian units stationed in Ukraine. These vehicles are speculated to be intended for deployment in the Lyman direction near the Kremensky forest, possibly to support infantry operations against Ukrainian positions, akin to previous deliveries.

In an operation near the border with Russia, the "Geese-9" special forces group of Ukraine's Defence Intelligence destroyed a Russian Kasta-2E2 (39N6E) radar station, a key piece of equipment for airspace surveillance. The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) highlighted that "due to fire damage, the Kasta-2E2 radar was rendered inoperative, resulting in losses for the radar service."

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