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Aug 12, 2022
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US strike on the airfield in Novofedorovka, now from space

photo: view of the village of Novofedorovka, where the explosions took place.

photo: view of the village of Novofedorovka, where the explosions took place. (Photo: Mulch/TASS)

The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believes that the Russian authorities are in obvious confusion in connection with the emergency that happened on August 9 at the military airfield in Novofedorovka (7 kilometers from the resort town of Saki, 20 from Yevpatoria) in Crimea. And, it seems – to our deep regret, ISW is not far from the truth.

Let me remind you that on the same day, a series of powerful explosions suddenly occurred deep in our rear, 225 kilometers from the current line of Russian-Ukrainian confrontation. At the air base where the 43rd Sevastopol Red Banner Order of Kutuzov is stationed, a separate naval assault aviation regiment of the Black Sea Fleet Air Force. His Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft are taking an active part in our special operation in Ukraine. Therefore, from the very beginning, a lot of quite reasonable assumptions arose: this is precisely an attack. And it is from Kyiv. That the Ukrainian side, with great readiness and with mock confidence, instantly began to assert at all levels.

However, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation promptly published its own version of events, which is very calming for our country. In accordance with it, there was no attack by the Ukrainian military on Crimea on August 9. It’s just that “on the territory of the Saki airfield near the settlement of Novofedorovka, on a bunded storage site, several aviation munitions detonated. No one was injured in the explosion. Aviation equipment at the airfield was not damaged.

On this, obviously, in the defense department, their public information mission in this direction was considered exhausted. Despite the fact that the flaws of the only statement of the Russian military so far regarding the explosions at the Novofedorovka airfield became obvious to everyone almost immediately.

If only because, according to no less official data from other Russian authorities, at least one civilian in the village died and 14 were injured. In addition, 62 residential buildings near the military unit and several dozen ordinary cars in parking lots in the vicinity of the air base were seriously damaged.

At least 250 citizens living in Novofedorovka had to be urgently evacuated to the dormitory of an agricultural technical school in a neighboring village. General damage to the civilian infrastructure of the settlement alone Head of Crimea Sergei Aksenov estimated at 200 million rubles.

From this alone it followed that the power of the explosions of aviation ammunition in reality turned out to be simply enormous. But until August 11, due to the position of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, which had gone into the information shadow, no one had the opportunity to assess the main thing: what were the losses from the emergency of the 73rd separate assault aviation regiment?

However, on Thursday, August 11, overseas CNN, as expected, promptly published satellite images of the affected Crimean airfield, made, allegedly, by the orbiters of the American private company Planet.Labs. Judging by them, in Novofedorivka, in addition to ammunition, at parking lots in bunded caponiers, ISW, as it claims, commenting on the pictures, burned down at least eight of our shock combat vehicles. And how many are seriously damaged and at least temporarily lost combat readiness – that pictures from space, of course, are not able to demonstrate.

We must pay tribute to overseas experts. They, as the Institute for the Study of War admits (as of Thursday afternoon), are not yet able to “assume on their own what caused the explosions at the airfield.” Such damage, according to ISW, could be caused by many things – the actions of the Ukrainian special forces, saboteurs or missiles fired from the vicinity of Novofedorovka or from afar.

But we are not talking about versions now. We are talking about the more than strange position of those who in the Russian Ministry of Defense and in the Kremlin (and there is no doubt that in informing the public about the special operation in Ukraine this is a single bunch) are responsible for covering the events in Novofedorovka. And in general – about what and how is actually happening in the combat area.

After all, both in the Kremlin and in the capital’s administrative “citadel” of our military, there is absolutely no doubt that Kyiv and Washington will immediately and for a long time begin to play out this sad story with Novofedorovka to the fullest. On the one hand, to demonstrate to the world our alleged helplessness in the fight against the long-range Western weapons provided to Ukraine. And so to sow despondency in the minds of our fellow citizens. And on the other hand, to instill confidence in our enemies in the “soon and inevitable victory” of Kyiv. And this is already in the professional language of the military called “polmorsos” – the political and moral state of the enemy both in the trenches and in his rear.

It will be easier for Russia’s enemies to do this, the longer Moscow arrogantly pretends that nothing at all happened in Crimea on August 9, which would be worth paying at least a modicum of additional attention to. And so far, that’s how it is. As an illustration – the official briefing in the Ministry of Defense on the progress of the special operation on August 11. That is – already after the whole world began to “suck” the satellite images of Novofedorok, published by CNN that day. About them, the lieutenant general who regularly flaunts in front of television cameras Igor KonashenkovAs expected, he didn’t say a word.

Is history repeating itself with, so to speak, coverage of the death of the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, the Guards missile cruiser Moskva, on April 14, 2022? You may not believe it, but the naval newspaper Flag of the Motherland and the main press organ of the Ministry of Defense Krasnaya Zvezda were silent for a long time about this tragedy, as if water was in their mouths. It’s clear why. Because Moscow did not tell their editors what to report and what not to.

And I can’t even say whether anything has changed in the military press regarding the tragedy with “Moscow” at least today? I just stopped following. It became nauseous.

In an attempt to understand the current military, one can, of course, refer to the almost military situation around Ukraine. Say, when hostilities are going on, the enemy should not help to establish the amount of true damage caused to us by his actions. Because the concept of “military secret” has not been canceled.

Yes, if you look through the file of the same “Red Star”, for example, for 1941, then in terms of information in the days of the USSR, we acted like that. According to the reports of the Soviet Information Bureau, which is easy to read on the pages that have turned yellow today, since June 22, the Nazis have been threshed mercilessly and ruthlessly. Inexplicably, in such a brave context, leaving city after city, rolling back first to Moscow, and then to the Volga.

Well, let’s say it was somehow justified then. In nature, there was no space intelligence, there was no Internet. It was absolutely impossible for an ordinary citizen to establish the truth about the state of affairs in the troops, bypassing official structures, on the scale of a thousand-kilometer front. Unless you hear something about individual episodes from eyewitnesses.

But today is not 1941! And we, sometimes it seems, approach the information of the population of our own country about the course of the operation in Ukraine in almost the same way.

In my opinion, in terms of information, the Ministry of Defense has taken a step backward even compared to how the same department covered both wars in Chechnya. Then, if you have not forgotten, the first deputy chief of the General Staff, Colonel General, appeared daily in front of journalists. Valery Manilov along with one or two other military specialists. From the audience, they could ask questions that really interested the press. And get answers right away. Exhaustive or not is another question.

But there was a lively dialogue between the military and society. What today in the context of the operation in Ukraine is not in sight. Many are fed up with the “talking head” of General Konashenkov on TV screens – this is not a dialogue. What simply unties the hands in the organization of large-scale information and psychological operations to the enemies of Russia.

And if real briefings for journalists were held today, and not state-owned briefings for journalists, they would ask General Konashenkov or at least someone else in his department the following question: why, as follows from American space satellites, our planes in Novofedorovka were, although in caponiers, but completely open? Why weren’t their camps covered from the air, at least with camouflage nets? Which would not allow NATO intelligence and Ukrainians to establish the movements of our aircraft before planning a completely expected strike against them?

For your information: by 2019, this was forced to be done at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria. After regular attacks by semi-handicraft attack drones from the positions of militants began on that airfield. To make drone raids useless, 18 concrete shelters for aircraft have already been built in Khmeimim, reinforced from above with additional armored elements. The supply of kerosene to the aircraft is carried out centrally, through a fuel line laid underground.

And – everything. For a long time there has not been a single message from Syria about the attack on our main airfield in the Mediterranean.

Is it also impossible to be close to Ukraine? Or are we waiting for new troubles from there for our air bases? Let’s say after the Americans nevertheless hand over long-range weapons to Kyiv, which he does not seem to have yet?

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