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Shelling of Belgorod region forces Russians to weaken their air defense in Crimea

Shelling of Belgorod region forces Russians to weaken their air defense in Crimea Russians are removing air defense systems from Crimea and have changed the logistics of fuel supplies (photo: Russian media)

Defense Forces strikes on military and logistical facilities in the Belgorod region have forced the Russian army to change the deployment of air defense systems and the logistical scheme for transporting fuel to temporarily occupied Crimea, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The report cites a June 10 statement from the partisan movement ATESH, which mentions the redeployment of Russian air defense systems from occupied Crimea to the Belgorod region, leading to weakened air cover for Crimea.

Additionally, the report notes that footage from June 8 shows Russia has resumed transporting fuel via the railway bridge over the Kerch Strait.

At the end of April, Ukrainian South Operational Command Spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk stated that since March 2024, Russian authorities had ceased transporting fuel via the Kerch railway bridge due to the risk of Ukrainian strikes that could cause tank explosions, destroying the crossing.

The Ukrainian military edition Militarnyi reported that Ukrainian strikes on railway ferries across the Kerch Strait on May 30 forced Russian authorities to resume fuel transport via the railway bridge.

The ISW report mentions that it remains unclear whether Russian authorities will continue using the Kerch Strait railway bridge for transporting fuel and logistical supplies to occupied Crimea in the near and medium term.

"Doing so would likely alleviate some logistics constraints as Russia struggles to compensate for lost ferries across the strait but would leave the Kerch Strait bridge increasingly vulnerable to Ukrainian strikes, particularly if Russian air defense coverage of Crimea is degraded," the report states.

Ukrainian Armed Forces shelling of occupied Crimea

On the night of June 10, powerful explosions were heard in several areas of temporarily occupied Crimea. Reports indicated explosions in Yevpatoria, as well as the Saky and Dzhankoy districts.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the Defense Forces hit an S-400 anti-aircraft missile division near Dzhankoy, as well as two S-300 anti-aircraft divisions near Chornomorsk and Yevpatoria.

Meanwhile, Russian air defense servicemen received orders to evacuate their families from Crimea. This development coincides with the relocation of air defense systems to the Belgorod region, creating a security threat in Crimea by leaving it without adequate coverage.