Russia's military is having a hard time with the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces liberated more territory than the Russian military did over the course of six months.

The Russian military's struggles are not limited toUkrainian borders.

A sabotage campaign that is the hallmark of special-operations forces has been the cause of mysterious fires and explosions for months.

Mystery fires and explosions

Belgorod Russia oil refinery attack
An oil refinery in the Russian city of Belgorod on April 1 after an attack that the regional governor blamed on Ukraine.
Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In May, as the Russian military prepared to launch a renewed offensive in Ukraine's Donbas region, military outposts, recruitment centers, and defense industrial complexes across Russia started experiencing mysterious explosions or fires.

There have been a lot of incidents at facilities in Russia.

Oil refinery, ammunition production and storage facilities, and communications infrastructure are some of the targets. The attacks appear to be part of an effort to weaken the Russian military.

It's possible that the perpetrators aren't working together.

Russian authorities caught two Russian teenagers throwing Molotov cocktails at a military facility. Dozens of commissariats have been attacked in Russia this year, suggesting that some people are against the war.

The attacks seem to focus on a small group of targets, and the incidents have largely aligned with what military special-operations units would be tasked with as part of an unconventional-warfare campaign.

A guerrilla campaign inside Russia

Ukraine Romania US Army Special Forces Green Berets
Ukrainian, Romanian, and US Army Special Forces soldiers during an exercise in Romania in May 2021.
Romanian army/Capt. Roxana Davidovits

The US special-operations community has decades of experience conducting and training others to conduct unconventional warfare.

Since the US military isn't directly involved in the fighting in Ukraine, the source of the attacks is likely Ukrainians or Russians.

A Green Beret in the National Guard told Insider that a guerrilla campaign could gain steam if Russia fails in Ukraine.

It may look like a disruption campaign at the beginning. The Green Beret, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said that targeting and attacking the supply lines and other soft targets is always on the list.

The Green Beret said, "Next on the list would be harder targets, such as military convoys, bases, or even attacks on command and control facilities and headquarters."

The US Special Operations Command increased its training, assistance, and advising for Ukrainian forces after Russia invaded the country.

People on a beach as smoke and flames rise after explosions at a Russian military airbase, in Novofedorivka, Crimea August 9, 2022.
Smoke and flames rise at a Russian military base in Crimea after explosions there on August 9.

The Ukrainian special-operations community has been brought up to speed by the help of the 10th Special Forces Group.

In the Ukrainian military's operations, the effectiveness of that American instruction can be seen. There was an attack on a fuel dump in the city of Belgorod in April that Russia said was carried out by the Ukrainians.

"But eventually a guerrilla campaign would have to mature and adapt on the expected security measures that the Russian military and security services will take to respond to the attacks."

The Green Beret said that winning over the Russian public may be the most difficult part of the campaign forUkraine.

The Green Beret said that an unconventional-warfare campaign is difficult to pull off against a hostile population and that a lot of Russians are fiercely patriotic.

A Hellenic Army veteran, a defense journalist specializing in special operations, and a graduate of a prestigious university are just some of the things that Stavros Atlamazoglou is. He is working on a master's degree in strategy and cyber security at the school.