It is being reported that Ukrainian forces staged an audacious strike against an oil depot inside Russia. Two Ukrainian helicopters flying extremely low dodged Russian anti-aircraft radar sites and launched a successful missile attack.
The extent of the damage is currently unknown but regardless of how much the attack degrades the Russian infrastructure, it is a psychological victory for the Ukrainians. On April 18th, 1942, America conducted a similar attack when it bombed Tokyo in the famous Doolittle Raid. It was the first time the Japanese homeland had been attacked in the war. The actual physical damage done was not very extensive, but it was a huge psychological blow that helped take away the invulnerability normal Japanese citizens felt. The Ukrainians do not have the war machine the United States had in World War II so it will be interesting to see what impact the attack on the Russian fuel depot will have.
Putin will make sure that the air defenses across the Ukrainian border will go on higher alert and missile crews now know that incursions are possible. Another attack inside of Russia’s borders will be much harder.
It is difficult to know the true state of the conflict. Both sides are involved in pushing out propaganda that makes it seem like they have the upper hand. No one questions Russia’s ability to win the war. The relevant question is are they willing to pay the price? Even though they are releasing conservative casualty numbers it is clear they are suffering large losses.
One reason the Ukrainian army has been effective is the United States and NATO have been supplying them with state-of-the-art weaponry. The United Kingdom has sent their Starstreak anti-air missile, and it is already making an impact on the battlefield.
One thing that NATO is learning from the war in Ukraine is that its anti-tank and anti-air weaponry works beyond expectation. These weapons are inflicting unbelievable damage on Russian units, crushing morale in the process. If Ukraine can also add more psychological wins like the fuel depot raid, they may make the perceived cost of the war high enough to have Russia seriously come to the peace table. Let us hope for a quick end to the conflict.