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Security Brief: Weapons and Tactics Team Week of March 27, 2022

March 27-30, 2022 | Issue 01

Weapons & Tactics (W/T) Team

Léopold Maisonny, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Ukrainian Ground Artillery[1]



Date: March 29, 2022

Location: Krasnyi Oktyabr, Belgorod Oblast, Russia

Parties involved: Ukraine, Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russia, Government of Belgorod, Russian Armed Forces

The event: TASS, Russia’s largest state-owned media entity, reported that a Russian military garrison was struck by a “projectile” on the evening of March 29.[2] The projectile exploded near the town of Krasnyi Oktyabr' injuring four military personnel.[3] The Russian military garrison is located 60 km away from one of Ukraine’s largest cities, Kharkiv, which has seen major military movement and fighting since the onset of conflict on February 24.[4] TASS reported that the projectile was launched from Ukraine, however external media sources and intelligence agencies have not published any information or analysis verifying this claim.

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is likely that the explosion was not caused by an intentionally aimed Ukrainian projectile. There is a roughly even chance that the blast was the result of a Russian “false flag” operation since Ukrainian armed forces did not describe the attack as a success. A Russian “false flag” operation of this magnitude was likely devised to produce an anti-Ukrainian sentiment and false evidence to support further Russian assaults on Ukraine.

  • Irrespective of the instigator of the explosion, Russia will likely exploit this event to support claims that Ukraine is conducting overzealous military operations across the border. It is very likely that Russia will mimic the event by utilizing airborne and artillery military assets to bomb Ukrainian critical infrastructure, military weapon depots, and military command, control, communications & intelligence (C3I) targets. Russian attacks of this nature will almost certainly result in widespread damage to humanitarian operations, such as hospitals and essential services, incurring civilian injuries and deaths.

  • It is very likely that Ukrainian forces will consider attacking Russian targets close to the Ukraine-Russian border, after being inspired by the explosion at the Russian military garrison. Ukrainian forces will likely target Russian military installations and resources using ground-based artillery. However, it is unlikely that the Ukrainian army is to engage special forces as they would likely be intercepted.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1] Ukrainian Ground Artillery by Ministry of Defense of Ukraine licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0

[2] Projectile hits garrison in Western Russia, four servicemen injured, TASS, March 2022, https://tass.com/emergencies/1429333

[3] Shell hits military camp in Russia, most likely from Ukrainian side - Tass, SWI, March 2022, https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/shell-hits-military-camp-in-russia--most-likely-from-ukrainian-side---tass/47474674

[4] What it's like for people in Kharkiv, one of Ukraine's worst hit cities, NPR, March 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/03/27/1089047710/what-its-like-for-people-in-kharkiv-one-of-ukraines-worst-hit-cities

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