What one should know about the attack on Novofedorivka 

August 09, 2022

Here are some important points, because of which, a tactical military operation may have a strategic effect on the course of the war.

Let us start from afar. I am highly surprised and concerned by certain messages, especially if they are reiterated by some Ukrainian authors or speakers. I mean claims that after referendums in the territories currently controlled by Russia there will be certain limitations on strikes at Russian military facilities, since after that Russia allegedly may consider those territories as its own. This logic is incomprehensible to me.

No civilized country in the world recognizes the Crimea to be Russian, except for those that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Hence, I see no political obstacles whatsoever for Ukraine to attack Russian military targets on the territory of the Crimean Peninsula. This is a political aspect, which was discussed in the context of possible risks of provoking Russia to act even more aggressively in Ukraine.

The second point is purely military. I see this move as extremely symbolic. Obviously, the decision was made not only by the military, but by the military and political leadership of Ukraine. So, in my opinion, this attack on military targets in Crimean Novofedorivka may obviously be considered on a par with the sinking of the Moskva cruiser. These are the important turning points in this war, where tactical operations can have a strategic effect on the course of the war.

This is an extremely symbolic move

Regarding the technical side of the matter: what weapon was used there? I’d rather wait for official statements. I do not rule out that it can be either a Ukrainian-made weapon or a weapon supplied to us by the Western partners. At this time, communication must be adapted to the war conditions. One can claim that the Western partners will refrain from supplying Ukraine with weapons with a range capable of hitting targets within Russia, and at the same time, supply such weapons and continue to say that they are "not ours." This is perfectly acceptable rhetoric. It has nothing to do with restrictions on the freedom of speech or non-transparency in foreign policy.

The targets in Novofedorivka might well include not only ammunition depots or aprons with aircraft but also radar control means, since such operations are usually combined: in a classic air raid, it is necessary to suppress the enemy air defense means used for detection and engagement of air targets, in the first place. So, I fully agree that their air defense systems might also be dealt with. I don't expect panic to spread in the Crimea but I think that absolutely logical questions will be asked more insistently there, which are already quite often heard even on their absolutely pro-Kremlin patriotic platforms, or in their conversations, or during the exchange of opinions in the streets — how protected the Crimea is, to what extent the occupation authorities may be trusted, with their statements that the Crimea is well defended. It is obvious that there will be doubts about the capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces. And it is logical to expect that some changes may be expended in the intensity of the tourist flow, which has already fallen. Well, maybe we will see (not immediately) a certain outflow of ​​the "newsettlers" from the Crimea.

Oleksiy Melnyk

Co-Director, Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes, Coordinator of International Projects

Born in 1962 in Khmelnytsty Rgn


Royal College of Defence Studies, London, UK (2007)

Air Field Operations Officer School, Biloxy, MS, US (2001)

Squadron Officer School, Montgomery, AL, US (1994)

Defence Language Institute, San Antonio, TX, US (1994)

Chernihiv Higher Military Air Force Academy, Ukraine (1984)


1980 – 2001 — Air Force Active Service (Cadet, Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, Squadron Commander, Deputy Air Force Base Commander, Participant of two UN peacekeeping operations, Lt.Colonel (Ret)

2001 – 2004 — Razumkov Centre

2004 – 2005 — State Company Ukroboronservice

2005 – 2008 — Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Head Organisational and Analytical Division — First Assistant to Minister of Defence

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