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​How russians Explain Losing Ivanovets Ship and Missile Strike on Belbek Airfield

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Illustrative collage by Defense Express
Illustrative collage by Defense Express

The russian military bloggers keep creating alternate reality where all Ukrainian attacks were repelled

Ukrainian operations on January 31st, 2024, have objectively become the most successful attempt at using a whole variety of long-range weapons against the russian invasion forces. Both the aerial attack on Belbek airfield in the occupied Crimea, performed by the Ukrainian Air Force, and the maritime strike on the Ivanets missile corvette carried out by naval drones have inflicted significant losses on the russian side, supported by visual evidence.

On the other hand, the media in russia portray a different picture, as exemplified by the report published by a russian milblogger Mikhail Zvinchuk with a russian audience of over a million followers on Telegram alone.

Read more: ​Ukrainian Naval Drones Take Down russian Ivanovets Missile Corvette (Video)
The military blogger even posted an infographic showing how all the Ukrainian attacks were repelled
The military blogger even posted an infographic showing how all the Ukrainian attacks were repelled / Infographics source: Mikhail Zvinchuk (Rybar) on Telegram

According to this blogger, a whole small fleet of nine sea drones entered the Black Sea from the Danube Delta but only five managed to reach the designated area, where all of them were destroyed. Four got eliminated by patrol boats and aviation, however, one exploded near the corvette's side. The other four missing drones were also found and destroyed by helicopters and a fighter aircraft.

This description of events leaves only wonder what drones the russians were taking down as we can see in the video footage that at least six unmanned boats hit the Ivanovets corvette in a sequence: two blasted at the stern, and three more struck from the side, while the sixth one just recorded the ship's nose looking from the surface as it sank.

The explanation and the actual aftermath
The explanation and the actual aftermath / Screenshot source: Mikhail Zvinchuk (Rybar) on Telegram // Still frame credit: Defense Intelligence of Ukraine

Zvinchuk also commented on the Ukrainian aerial raid on the Belbek airfield. He claims at least three Ukrainian Su-24M bombers, accompanied by MiG-29s and Su-27s, launched six Storm Shadow/SCALPs, and after that six more, despite the fact each Su-24 can usually carry only two of such missiles at a time. Of course, all of them were "shot down," it's just that only one allegedly got "intercepted directly above the ground", but it did not cause any damage to the airfield.

The explanation and the actual aftermath
The explanation and the actual aftermath / Screenshot source: Mikhail Zvinchuk (Rybar) on Telegram // Photo credit: Crimeanwind on Telegram

Meanwhile, current independent data based on satellite imagery and OSINT findings suggests that a fortified command center and/or the main communication center of all aviation from the russian Black Sea Fleet, as well as radar stations. Importantly, not just the assets on the surface were damaged but underground facilities, too, as indicated by a reported landslide along the coastline following the strike.

Notably, after Ukrainian Defense Intelligence posted the footage of the drone attack on Ivanovets online, the blogger admitted the loss and explained it with a "human factor", namely those in charge who failed to change their mindset since the beginning of the larger invasion in 2022.

Since Mikhail Zvinchuk is considered a trustworthy source and even occupies a prestigious position related to russian mobilization effort, all the russian media who referred to his reports now issue baffled reports about a repelled Ukrainian attack that still managed to sink a valuable warship, while the Ministry of Defense of russia remains silent about the incident.

Read more: ​What Did Ukrainian Air Force Hit at the Belbek Airfield in Crimea