Ukraine scored devastating deep strikes against Russian-occupied Crimea in the 83rd week of the war, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy toured Europe and the United States picking up pledges of new long-range weapons and financing.
At the same time, Ukrainian and Western sources confirmed that Ukrainian troops had broken through the first and strongest line of Russian defence on the southern front, known as the Surovikin Line after the general who devised it. That success could accelerate their march towards the cities of Tokmak and Melitopol.
Ukraine attacked three targets in occupied Crimea in as many days, honing its signature tactic of using a wave of drones to destroy or distract air defences, followed by a wave of missiles.
Satellite images showed that attacks destroyed half of the Black Sea Fleet’s communications command centre in Verkhnosadove, 16 kilometres (10 miles) northeast of the fleet base in Sevastopol, on September 20.
The following day Ukraine attacked the Saky airfield – the second time it has done so during the war. The Ukrainian broadcaster Suspilne reported the attack caused “serious damage” and that 12 Russian combat aircraft were present, including Su-24 and Su-30 fighter-bombers.