“Ukraine shaping the battlefield ahead of a fresh offensive. But what was it that hit Mariupol last night, deep in enemy-held territory, beyond HIMARS range?” MacDonald tweeted. “Are GLSMBs in play, or was it Ukraine’s Vilkha-M heavy MLRS?
Ukrainian forces were able to attack the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol last week despite it being outside the range of nearly all of the country’s known weapons systems.
“For two consecutive nights, explosions have rocked Mariupol,” wrote Marc Santora of the New York Times, “including blasts near the airport and around a steel plant.”
The strikes on Mariupol occurred from February 21st until the 23rd and were first reported on by an advisor to the Ukrainian mayor of the city, Petro Andriushchenko.
“Two of them hit the closed territory of Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in the area of the penal colony,” Andriushchenko wrote in a post on his official Telegram channel.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine with surgical precision hit the bases of the occupiers,” Andriushchenko continued according to a translation provided by journalists from CNN.
Russia’s air defense failed again
“Russians have raised anti-air capability over Mariupol again. Yesterday it didn’t help, so they hope today it will be different,” Andriushchenko added.
Military bloggers in the Russian info space were also actively reporting on devastating and perplexing attacks on Mariupol according to Stefan Korshk of The Kyiv Post.
“I am shocked about yesterday’s attacks,” Ivan Utenkok said in a video message from Mariupol that was later posted on Twitter. “They started bombing with something new.”
Mark Santora noted that Mariupol was well outside of the range of Ukraine’s HIMARS and M270 Multiple Rocket Launch Systems, but also pointed out that Ukrainian forces could have used drones to hit the city, something they have done before in the war.
“Ukraine has used attack drones to hit targets at a far greater distance than its other weapons allow,” Santora wrote.
“Given the pattern of strikes and the comments from the Ukrainian military,” Santora added, “speculation was swirling that it may have acquired a new weapon.”
The New Voice of Ukraine speculated that the weapon used could have been Ukraine’s domestically produced Vilkha-M Heavy Multiple Rocket Launcher System while the senior editor of Novoe Vremya, Euan MacDonald tweeted other possible options.
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