Ukraine’s Clandestine Center 73: Behind-the-Scenes Operations in the War

by Joshua Brown
Ukraine's Center 73

In the shadows of Ukraine’s warfront, the special forces unit Center 73 undertakes critical, often unseen missions. Initially faced with an obsolete battle strategy due to the unexpected collapse of a dam, these officers spent half a year adapting to secure a crucial river crossing in Southern Ukraine, across the Dnipro River.

The task was not merely to cross the river; securing and holding the position was vital. Officer “Skif,” a moniker derived from the ancient Scythian warriors of Crimea, embodied the stealth and precision of his amphibian-like tactics. Center 73, comprising Ukraine’s elite – frontline scouts, drone operators, and underwater demolition experts – plays a pivotal role in covert operations, ranging from supporting partisans in occupied areas to executing high-risk bomb placements and strategizing for territory reclamation.

Their role in the broader Ukrainian military efforts, especially during the six-month counteroffensive, highlights the complexities and challenges faced by the Ukrainian forces. Positioned near the strategic Kakhovka Dam, these operatives found themselves in a race against time and enemy forces following the dam’s destruction in early June, which resulted in catastrophic flooding and significant civilian casualties.

Center 73’s members, often unnoticed in frontline villages, transform nightly from ordinary civilians into highly trained operatives, adept in various combat and reconnaissance skills. Despite their critical contributions, their efforts largely remain unrecognized by the public. Russian military statements, however, inadvertently testify to their effectiveness.

Equipped with state-of-the-art gear such as night-vision goggles, waterproof rifles, and advanced underwater breathing systems, Center 73 had already identified key Russian positions by early June. However, the dam explosion upended their plans, forcing both Russian and Ukrainian forces to retreat and regroup.

Their base of operations, constantly shifting and shrouded in secrecy, became a hub of strategic planning and innovation. Even their routine tasks – scouting enemy positions, planting explosives, and underwater missions – are deemed extraordinarily high-risk by standard military measures.

Skif, a seasoned veteran and former prisoner of war, understood the gravity of securing a strategic river crossing. His experiences, along with those of his comrades, paint a somber picture of the sacrifices made in warfare.

By July and August, as the waters receded, Center 73 resumed their operations. Despite initial setbacks, including booby-trapped areas and intense enemy fire, they continued their mission to reclaim key positions. Their bilingual advantage, understanding both Ukrainian and Russian, provided a critical edge in certain operations.

However, the challenges were immense. Facing Russian dominance in airpower and ground forces, the Ukrainian troops often found themselves in dire situations, requiring strategic retreats and regrouping.

A turning point occurred in the later months of 2023 when a Russian officer, disillusioned with the war, surrendered to Ukrainian forces along with several comrades. This defection provided Skif’s unit with valuable intelligence, aiding in their subsequent operations.

Despite the harsh winter conditions and the formidable Russian military presence, Ukrainian forces, including Center 73, continued their relentless efforts. Recent Russian military advancements have posed new challenges, yet the Ukrainian resolve remains unshaken.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent remarks acknowledge minor territorial concessions but downplay the Ukrainian efforts. Despite Russia’s claims over the contested territories, Ukrainian forces persist in their struggle, with Center 73 at the forefront of these clandestine operations.

“This is our duty,” Skif remarks. “Unseen, unspoken of, but vital for our nation.”

Contributors: Lori Hinnant (Paris), Felipe Dana (Kherson), Samya Kullab, Illia Novikov (Kyiv).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ukraine’s Center 73

What is Ukraine’s Center 73?

Ukraine’s Center 73 is an elite special forces unit involved in clandestine operations during the ongoing conflict. Comprised of frontline scouts, drone operators, and underwater demolition experts, the unit plays a pivotal role in executing covert operations, supporting partisans in occupied areas, and strategizing for territory reclamation.

How did Center 73 adapt to the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam?

Following the unexpected destruction of the Kakhovka Dam, which led to massive flooding, Center 73 had to quickly modify their strategies. They focused on securing and holding a strategic crossing over the Dnipro River, adapting to the changed terrain and the challenges posed by the new battlefield dynamics.

What are the primary tasks of Center 73?

The primary tasks of Center 73 include scouting enemy positions, planting explosives, executing underwater operations, and providing support to partisans in occupied territories. They are also involved in high-risk missions such as sneaking into enemy barracks to plant bombs and preparing ground for reclaiming territory seized by Russia.

How does Center 73 operate within the local communities?

In local frontline villages, members of Center 73 often blend in as civilians, maintaining a low profile during the day. At night, they transform into highly skilled operatives, conducting reconnaissance and combat operations, and then returning to anonymity by dawn.

What challenges does Center 73 face in their operations?

Center 73 faces numerous challenges, including dealing with harsh environmental conditions, adapting to sudden changes in military strategy, and countering the technological and firepower superiority of the enemy. They also operate under high-risk conditions, often going unrecognized for their critical contributions to the war effort.

What role did a Russian officer’s defection play in Center 73’s operations?

The defection of a Russian officer and his comrades was a significant event for Center 73. It provided the unit with crucial intelligence about enemy positions and strategies, aiding them in planning and executing future operations more effectively.

More about Ukraine’s Center 73

  • Understanding Ukraine’s Special Forces
  • The Role of Center 73 in Ukraine’s Defense
  • Covert Operations in Modern Warfare
  • Ukraine’s Military Strategy and Tactics
  • The Impact of Terrain on Military Operations
  • The Technology and Equipment of Modern Special Forces
  • The Psychological Impact of War on Soldiers and Civilians
  • International Perspectives on the Ukraine Conflict
  • The History of Special Forces in Global Conflicts
  • The Role of Intelligence in Warfare Strategy

You may also like


AlexR December 26, 2023 - 10:08 am

gotta say, i’m a bit skeptical about some of the claims, like the russian officer defecting and giving away intel. seems a bit too convenient, but who knows in war right?

Sarah K December 26, 2023 - 11:49 am

This article really opened my eyes, to what’s happening behind the scenes in Ukraine. It’s scary but also kind of awe-inspiring, how these soldiers adapt and keep fighting against such odds!

David Smith December 26, 2023 - 6:51 pm

interesting read but I think the writer could have gone deeper into the technical side, like what kind of equipment do these guys use? and how do they train for such high risk ops?

Emma_L December 27, 2023 - 2:43 am

It’s heartbreaking to hear about the sacrifices these soldiers are making, especially Skif’s story. makes you appreciate the peace we have at home.

Mike Johnson December 27, 2023 - 3:16 am

wow, didn’t know much about this Center 73, sounds like they are doing some incredible work under the radar. really shows the complexity of modern warfare and the role of special forces.


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News