Special Operations: Pro Ukraine Partisans Inside Russia


May 3o, 2024: The Russian war in Ukraine is in its third year and, while Ukraine holds the line in Ukraine, they are also increasing their attacks inside Russia. The Ukrainian attacks are against economic and transportation operations that, when damaged or disabled, will make it more difficult for the half million Russian troops in Ukraine to continue operating. Russia has already lost half a million soldiers dead, disabled, or missing inside Ukraine. Russian troops currently in Ukraine are short of supplies, morale, and effective leadership. Casualties among senior officers have been unusually high. By early 2024 Russia had lost about 350 officers above the rank of major and up to the rank of general. Normally, these senior officers don’t spend much time in active combat zones unless there are problems at the front that junior officers, lieutenants, and captains, cannot handle. During the first few months of the war the Russians lost many if not most of these junior officers. Russia has not been able to replace these junior officers because most of them came from training programs that require several years to complete. Efforts to promote talented reenlisted soldiers to the rank of lieutenant had limited success initially but then failed because soldiers realized that fighting in Ukraine was a death trap for them and you were more likely to get killed if you were a lieutenant. This caused senior officers to visit the front more often to try and solve these problems. There were no effective solutions but there were heavy casualties among the senior officers who spent a lot of time at the front.

The Ukrainians noticed this situation and came up with a plan to take advantage of it. The Ukrainians began organizing more partisan groups within Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine as well as in Russia itself. Many Russian civilians were unhappy with this war, which was getting lots of Russian soldiers killed and causing economic problems inside Russia. This led to the formation of several armed groups of pro-Ukraine Russians as well as making it easier for Russian-speaking Ukrainian operatives to operate inside Russia collecting information and organizing sabotage missions. Most of the sabotage was made to appear as an accident or lack of maintenance, both of which are common inside peacetime as well as wartime Russia.

Since the Americans would not supply Ukraine with satellite photos of possible targets inside Russia, Ukraine used its agents to locate or confirm the location and condition of potential targets. This is what made the UAV attacks possible on eighteen Russian fuel refining and storage locations this year. This caused fuel shortages and higher fuel prices inside Russia. Attacks were also on manufacturers of key components for military equipment as well as warehouses containing military equipment, including explosive items. Those nighttime attacks, even more than the ones on fuel depots, produced dramatic explosions and fires that could be seen for many kilometers. So many of these occurred that the state controlled mass media could not effectively conceal what was happening and that it was the Ukrainians who were doing it.

Ukraine deliberately carried out these attacks near major cities like Moscow, St Petersburg, and more distant cities like Kazan, which is 730 kilometers east of Moscow. Nearly half the population of Kazan are native Tatars who would rather live in a Tartar nation than one dominated by Russians. There are many other ethnic minorities in Russia and Ukraine can find locals willing to aid the Ukrainians in their fight against Russia.

The Ukrainians had already organized and in some cases armed thousands of Ukrainian civilians living in Russian controlled areas. These partisan devote most of their efforts to obtaining detailed information on what local Russian forces are doing and what shape these Russian troops are in. It can take days to get status reports to Ukrainian forces about Russian military activities. These reports often result in Ukrainian UAV attacks on key Russian targets.

Russia has had less success maintaining agents inside Ukraine. At the start of the war, it was revealed that Russia had lots of agents, some of them in the Ukrainian government and military. During the first year of the war most of these Russian agents were revealed, often as they sought to carry out acts of sabotage. By the second year of the war Russia had few agents left inside Ukraine while Ukraine had a growing number of agents inside Russia. This was because few Russians could see any justification for Russia invading Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has become increasingly unpopular inside Russia and more Russians are acting against their own government. Ukraine appears to have little contact with these anti-government Russians other than not interfering with them if they base themselves on the Ukrainian side of the border in between attacks inside Russia.

In response to the Russian partisan attacks, the Russian army has deployed over 30,000 soldiers in border areas where the partisans, both Russian and Ukrainian, are operating. The partisans are numerous, with up to 100,000 Russian members of these groups who support and carry out operations inside Russia.

As the war in Ukraine gets more Russian soldiers killed and does more damage to the Russian economy, the Russian partisans inside Russia become more active and troublesome.


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