Ukraine Destroyed Russian Counterbattery Zoopark-2 Radar In Avdiivka

Ukraine destroyed one of Russia’s prized counterbattery radar systems in fighting along the eastern front in the war-torn country, Kyiv’s military said.

“We have successfully eliminated the valuable Russian Zoopark system, which is valued at over $10 million dollars,” Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Tavria group of forces, said in remarks carried by Ukrainian media outlet RBC on Sunday.

Russia’s Zoopark counterbattery radar systems are an important target for Ukraine, as they help Moscow’s troops search out and destroy the artillery systems that are crucial to Ukraine’s success. The conflict, on the cusp of hitting the 20-month mark, has been deemed an “artillery war,” in which firepower is critical for both sides.

In late March, Ukraine’s special operations forces said they had taken out a Zoopark-2 system, and shared footage appearing to show the strike. Shortly after, the British defense ministry described these systems as “relatively few in number,” but as a “significant” piece of equipment on the battlefield.

At the time, Ukraine had destroyed at least six of the systems, and Russia “likely only has a very limited number left” in the war-torn country, the U.K. government said in an intelligence update published on social media.

Between February 2022 and the start of October 2023, Russia lost a confirmed 13 Zoopark systems, according to Dutch open-source intelligence outlet Oryx.

Fighting along the Tavria direction, which includes the embattled Donetsk town of Avdiivka, has spiked in recent weeks, after Russia launched its first major offensive effort since Ukraine’s counteroffensive kicked off in early June.

Moscow has thrown resources at the Donetsk coking town in Ukraine’s industrial heartland, which would be a significant tactical and symbolic win for Russia. However, Western experts are now skeptical that Moscow’s forces will be able to take control of the town, which has spent almost a decade on the frontlines between Kyiv and Russian-backed forces.

Ukraine has meticulously built up its defenses in Avdiivka, and it is “very difficult to displace them,” Marina Miron, a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, in the U.K., previously told Newsweek.

Colonel Shtupun told Newsweek early last week that Russian attacks on Avdiivka had “decreased somewhat” after about a week of assaults and heavy reported losses.

However, Russian forces launched a “renewed offensive push” around the town on Friday, indicating Moscow was still hoping to capture Avdiivka despite a high casualty count and significant equipment losses, according to the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank’s Friday assessment.

In its latest update, the ISW called the doubling down of Russian forces in Avdiivka on Friday a “failure,” but added that Russia is now “funneling additional forces to the Avdiivka front.”

Fighting is “particularly intense” around Avdiivka, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on Sunday. There have been “numerous Russian attacks” around the town,” he said, adding: “But our positions are defended.”

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