What to do when you don’t care about your own people? Blame every one else!

Kremlin did not even install air-raid sirens in Crimea

Shankar Narayan
7 min readJun 24, 2024
Can you stop blaming others (Licensed Image)

The Siege of Crimea began sometime in April. It was a long campaign that Ukraine waged to destabilize the Russian military’s ability to use Crimea as a staging area to support its war efforts. It started when Ukraine took control of Snake Island, a tiny parcel of land in the western Black Sea, and progressively made operations difficult for the Russian military in the peninsula.

The arrival of long-range ATACMS missiles from the United States allowed Ukraine to take things to the next level. During the pre-siege phase of Crimea, Ukraine, using its drones, homemade Neptune missiles, and long-range Storm Shadow missiles, drove the Black Sea Fleet out of Crimea with pinpoint hits. They poked small holes in Russian air-defense coverage in Crimea, drove their Storm Shadow missiles through them, and kept knocking out Russian ships one by one.

Creating those gaps in air-defense was crucial to Ukraine’s success in its fight against the Russian navy. After the arrival of ATACMS missiles, which can be fired from ground-based launchers positioned right behind the frontline, Ukraine is now attempting to completely destroy Russia’s air-defense coverage in Crimea.

According to the Ukrainian government, the armed forces have attacked 15 different targets over the course of two months. June is still not over. They have hit the eastern end, the western end, deep in the middle, the far south, and the north.

Ukraine is knocking out Crimean air defenses one by one. They have been doing so for nearly two months. As a Russian commander, you know that your air-defense coverage is now so weak that you are moving the experimental S-500 air-defense system into place. Things must be desperate for Russia to take this step. It is an extremely expensive system, and if it gets knocked out — which Ukraine desperately wants to do — it will be as shameful as having next-generation Kinzhal missiles shot down by last-generation Patriot air-defense systems.

Yes, the Patriots present in Ukraine are not the latest models. They are from an older generation. Ukraine is set to receive the latest Patriot models in the next batch of systems heading their way.

Romania will not simply give Ukraine a Patriot battery. The country is equipped with the latest modifications of the air defense system called MIM-104F PAC-3, featuring PAC-3 MSE interceptor missiles and AN/MPQ-65 radar. The Patriot PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability-3) is one of the latest versions of the air defense system modernization.

It is designed to intercept warheads of tactical ballistic and cruise missiles, including those made using stealth technology. Romania purchased these systems in 2020. Now, Bucharest will receive the same or an equivalent complex in return. — Jürgen Nauditt

The older generation Patriots completely destroyed the name recognition of the Russian missile industry. The ATACMS have done the same to Russian air defenses. Any commander worth their position would have taken measures to protect the civilians living in Crimea. The least you could do is install air-raid sirens to warn people of attacks. It does not matter whether you have an enemy that targets military infrastructure or one that targets children’s hospitals. It is your responsibility to take those steps.

But nope.

Russia did nothing to warn its people. They installed numerous air-defense systems all over Crimea but did not bother to warn civilians of missile debris in case of a successful interception. And what happens when the air-defense system misfires? And what happens if civilians accidentally gather near a high-value military site that is under attack?

The Russians high command does not care. They are civilization unto itself they tell the younger generation. But in this civilization not just Russian soldeirs can be used as cannon fodder, even civilians can be used as pawns in the greater scheme of Russian propaganda.

Yesterday, Ukraine launched a volley of ATACMS missiles against multiple targets in Crimea. Russian air defense near Sevastopol intercepted one of the missiles launched by Ukraine, forcing it to deviate from its intended path and detonate.

The Russian MoD later blamed the United States for civilian casualties in Sevastopol given that the ATACMS are a US-provided system, despite acknowledging that a Russian air defense interceptor caused the missile to deviate from its flight path and detonate.

But the Russian effort to shift the blame onto the United States for supplying ATACMS missiles miserably failed, as furious Russian military bloggers criticized their army’s high command for doing nothing to protect their people.

Russian milbloggers widely criticized the Russian MoD and Russia’s occupation authorities in Crimea for failing to prevent the strike and sufficiently protect Russian civilians. Russian sources criticized Russian authorities for not using air raid sirens to alert civilians to seek shelter.

Several Russian milbloggers criticized Russian authorities for failing to detect and destroy all the missiles before they approached Sevastopol and for failing to build reinforced shelters within walking distance of the beach, specifically comparing the lack of shelters near this beach in contrast to Russia’s efforts to build shelters in Belgorod Oblast near the international border with Ukraine.

That they did nothing to protect the civilians was only a small part of their shameful story. The real shame is the following:

Footage and imagery indicate that Russian forces have been stationing military equipment in civilian areas in Crimea since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russian authorities have irresponsibly encouraged Russian tourism to occupied Crimea during wartime while the Russian military continues to leverage the occupied peninsula as a rear staging area.

The Russian military likely purposefully stations legitimate military targets nearby civilian areas in Crimea in an effort to deter Ukrainian strikes. Russian forces have been recorded leveraging the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and schools in occupied mainland Ukraine to shield Russian military equipment.

Russia is likely violating its own regulations on the application of International Humanitarian Law, which states that “the military command shall avoid deploying military objectives in densely populated areas or in their vicinity.”

I am speechless for all practical purposes. Forcing people who do not want to fight is one thing, but it is completely another level of evil to encourage people to visit Crimea, station Russian military assets in civilian areas, and use Russian lives as pawns in their propaganda game.

Sick.

And.

Revolting.

Crimea is contested

Since the beginning of April, Ukraine has been relentlessly targeting air-defense systems stationed in Crimea, and it shows no signs of stopping. Meanwhile, Russia continues to bring in additional systems from the mainland.

The arrival of the S-500 system is enough evidence to conclude that Russia will keep sending more air-defense systems to Crimea. They have no choice. With long-range ATACMS already in Ukraine’s possession, Russia cannot keep warehouses, oil depots, and aircraft safe in the occupied territories of southern Ukraine. They will risk it in Crimea, which means they have no choice but to keep reinforcing air-defense units there.

Crimea will be where Russian air-defense units go to die.

The US government has not allowed Ukraine to use ATACMS missiles to attack inside Russian territory. As a result, Russia will keep its air-defense systems well protected. A system placed inside Russian territory, behind Luhansk or Donetsk, will allow the Russians to threaten the F-16s from reaching the frontline. You can see this from the image below.

S-400s are estimated to have an operational range of 250 km. Let us assume that it is 200 km, as the Russians tend to exaggerate their capabilities. The Russian army can safely position its S-400s inside Russian territory and still threaten the F-16s.

I don’t know when the Biden administration will relax its “don’t use ATACMS inside Russia” rule. Maybe they will lift it after Ukraine loses a few F-16s to the S-400s.

But there is one thing Ukraine can do to mitigate this threat: relentlessly target Russian air-defense systems in Crimea, again and again, over and over.

If America insists on maintaining its rule against using ATACMS inside Russia, then they need to provide Ukraine with hundreds of ATACMS missiles. This way, Ukraine can draw Russian air-defense systems to Crimea and destroy them.

Every red line the Biden administration has drawn could be easily managed while still protecting those red lines.

  • If they don’t want Ukraine to strike airfields inside Russia, then saturate the airspace so much with air-defense systems that Russian jets have nowhere to hide in the sky.
  • If they don’t want Ukraine to target air-defense systems stationed inside Russia, then provide them with more than enough ATACMS missiles to deplete the Russian air-defense units in Crimea.

The Biden administration has made some commendable decisions starting this year. I remain hopeful that they will either relax their rules or find a workaround. Workarounds are not at all difficult; therefore, I am slightly leaning towards the Biden administration deploying them.

But whichever way we look at it, Russia is still pushing Ukraine to engage on the frontline, while Ukraine has significantly escalated its deep-fire attacks.

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Shankar Narayan

He didn't care what he had or what he had left, he cared only about what he must do.