In a strategic move that has caught international attention, Ukraine successfully neutralized a Russian S-400 "Triumf" air-defense system, estimated to be worth between $500 million and $1.2 billion. The operation was a joint effort between Ukraine's security service (SBU) and its navy.
The Ukrainian forces employed a combination of Neptune missiles and aerial drones to dismantle the advanced Russian air-defense system.
The operation was meticulously planned: Ukraine initially used drones to target a Russian ship in the Black Sea, prompting the S-400 to reveal its location by firing at the drones. Once the system had exhausted its ammunition, Ukrainian forces launched cruise missiles to destroy it.
The operation took place off the coast of Yevpatoriya, a city in the western part of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The timing of the operation is noteworthy as it comes amid ongoing tensions and military conflicts between the two nations.
Interestingly, Russia has not yet officially commented on the incident. However, they did report shooting down 11 Ukrainian drones over the peninsula.
This isn't the first time Ukraine has capitalized on Russia's mistakes; just last week, Ukrainian forces were able to target Russian soldiers after they revealed their location while trying to shoot down a Ukrainian flag attached to helium balloons.
The S-400's capabilities and market Value
The S-400 system, designed to rival the U.S.-made Patriot air defense system, is capable of shooting down aircraft and missiles at long ranges and high altitudes.
Turkey had previously purchased four batteries of the system at a cost of $625 million each, a move that led the U.S. to revoke Turkey's access to the F-35 stealth fighter program.
While no official agreements were announced, the operation has been described as "very, very constructive" by Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson.
Both Ukrainian and Russian officials are expected to follow up on the incident, with future visits planned by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin to North Korea.