The Ukrainian War Spreads to Moscow, The Heart of Russia Is Not Immune from Attacks
A Russian lawmaker called the drone attacks the most dangerous attack on Moscow since the invasion of Nazi Germany in World War II.
About AI Translated Article
Please note that this article was automatically translated using Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI. We cannot ensure that the entire content is translated accurately. If you spot any errors or inconsistencies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll make every effort to address them. Thank you for your understanding.
The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI.
MOSCOW, WEDNESDAY - After devastating parts of Ukraine for more than 15 months, the war has now spread to Moscow, the capital of Russia. The escalation of the war into the heart of Russia did not involve troops, as at the start of the war when Russian troops invaded the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, but instead utilized unmanned aircraft.
However, the escalation and impact of the attack on Moscow is nothing compared to the unmanned aerial vehicle and missile attacks by Russia on Ukraine within 24 hours, including the capital city of Kyiv on Tuesday (30/5/2023). Ukraine reported that 4 people were killed and 34 were injured, including 2 children, as a result of the attacks.
In the attack, Russia bombarded Kyiv with at least 31 unmanned aerial vehicles made by Iran, Shahed. According to the Ukrainian military, 29 out of the 31 unmanned aerial vehicles could be shot down. Throughout May, Russia has bombed Kyiv 17 times with unmanned aerial vehicles or missiles, mostly at night.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian unmanned aircraft also hit a luxury housing area in Moscow. Two residents were injured in the attack. Some apartment blocks' residents were also evacuated.
Russian parliament member Maxim Ivanov referred to the attack as the most dangerous attack on Moscow since the Nazi German invasion during World War II. The luxurious residential area targeted by the Ukrainian unmanned aircraft attack is the location of Russian President Vladimir Putin's residence and Russian elite residents.
A Kremlin spokesman stated that Putin has been briefed on the attack. Putin said that the Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle attacks on Moscow were only intended to intimidate and provoke Russia. He instructed for the air defense around the capital to be strengthened.
"This is clear evidence of terrorist activity," Putin said Tuesday, as quoted by the TASS news agency. “Russia was forced to avenge the war waged by the Ukrainian regime in the Donbass. (We) were forced to respond with a special military operation. (Russia's military) attacks Ukrainian territory, but with long-range precision weapons and specifically targets military infrastructure or ammunition depots."
"However, in retaliation, the Kyiv regime chose another method, which is to try to intimidate Russia, intimidate Russian citizens and attack residential buildings," said Putin.
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that on Tuesday, eight unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down by Ukraine and targeted civilian settlements. All of the unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down or diverted with electronic jammers.
Previously, on May 3rd, two unmanned aerial vehicle attacks even hit the Kremlin, Putin's office and residence.
Baza, a Telegram channel with links to Russian security forces, stated that over 25 unmanned aerial vehicles had been shot down in Moscow. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, five out of eight Ukrainian drones were shot down by the Pantsir-S missile system, while the other three were diverted using electronic equipment.
The drone attack, which occurred on Tuesday, was the second direct attack on Moscow. Previously, on May 3, two drone attacks even hit the Kremlin, Putin's office and residence. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that at the time of the first attack, Putin was not in the Kremlin.
Also read: Two Drones Enter the Kremlin
Moscow blames Ukraine for the attack. Kyiv has denied the accusations. Likewise Washington claimed not to know anything about the attack on the Kremlin. US intelligence officials, quoted by The New York Times, said that one of the Ukrainian intelligence units or special forces units was thought to have orchestrated the attack on the Kremlin.
Just like the first unmanned drone attack, Mykhailo Podolyak, close aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, denied Kyiv's involvement in the attack on Tuesday (30/5/2023). However, he said, "We are certainly pleased to see these events." Podolyak predicts that similar attacks will continue.
The drone attack also hit the city of Krasnodar, in the occupied Crimea region of southern Russia, on Friday (26/5/2023). According to local officials, the attack damaged several residential buildings.
Krasnodar Governor Veniamin Kondratyev stated via Telegram that the fire at the Afipsky oil processing plant, not far from the port of Novorossiisk in the Black Sea, is also believed to be a result of the drone attack.
The city of Shebekino in Russia, approximately 7 kilometers north of the Kharkiv border area, was also not spared from Ukraine's artillery attacks. Governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, also revealed via Telegram that two people were taken to the hospital due to the attack. The Ukrainian artillery hit the windows of residential buildings, damaging the roofs of an eight-story apartment complex, four houses, and one school.
Since the eruption in February 2022, which began with the invasion of Russian troops towards the capital city of Kyiv, the war in Ukraine has generally only taken place in Ukrainian territory. However, in conjunction with the pressure of Russian forces in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, aerial attacks targeting Russian areas have increased.
Last week, the border area in Russia, Belgorod, also became one of the most serious cross-border attacks since the Ukrainian war erupted. Belgorod Governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, stated that one man died and two other men were severely injured in the attack. He added that in these attacks, Ukrainian artillery struck a building that provided temporary shelter for local residents who were stranded.
Two pro-Ukrainian far-right paramilitary groups have claimed responsibility for the attack in Belgorod. The Economist magazine in its report called the two militias opponents of Putin, namely the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Russian Liberation Legion. The two groups are thought to be based in Ukraine. Moscow says they are the vanguard of Ukrainian troops. Kyiv said they were Russian defectors.
How to get to Moscow?
Although there has been no official confirmation, the question arises whether Ukraine is behind the unmanned aircraft attack on Moscow this week: how and to what extent is Ukraine capable of launching such an attack? The distance between Moscow and the Ukrainian border areas is nearly 500 kilometers.
Several Ukrainian military analysts revealed that the drone attacks are likely using the UJ-22 unmanned aerial vehicle. This drone is produced in Ukraine and has a range of up to approximately 1,000 kilometers.
Analyst Oleh Zhdanov stated that some types of UJ-22 can reach Moscow and even further regions. However, the range and payload capacity of the unmanned aircraft is only half of that of Iran's Shahed unmanned aircraft, which is used in Russia. Despite this, according to Zhdanov, the attack on Moscow reveals one of the vulnerabilities of the Russian capital's air defense.
In addition, these vulnerabilities are also related to the length of the Russia-Ukraine border line which reaches more than 2,250 kilometers and the Russian defense radar system. Sam Bendett, adviser on Russian studies at CNA, a non-profit research institute in Virginia, USA, told The New York Times explained that Russian defense radars are designed to detect larger aircraft and missiles than drones.
After the incident, Russia is expected to adapt a more complex air defense system that can protect Moscow from new era threats. "Previously, the air defense system in nearby cities (of Moscow) would give different signals when detecting smaller objects compared to helicopters," said Ian Williams, a researcher for the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.
“Small drones will probably catch on radar screens like geese. So, if you activate your radar to look for enemy drones, you're likely to see a lot of birds," Williams added, as quoted by the Times.
”The new reality”
According to the statement of Moscow citizens, during the attack, they heard a loud explosion followed by the smell of fuel. Some residents recorded an unmanned aerial vehicle being shot down and emitting smoke.
Russian citizens, according to parliament member Maxim Ivanov, can no longer avoid "this new reality". The Russian government television reported the drone attack in Moscow with calm coverage. Many Moscow residents also did not seem to care.
Olga, who claims to live on Profsoyuznaya Street near the location of the attack, referred to the attacks as "logical, expected..what else are we waiting for?"
Regarding the attack, the Russian news agency, RIA, has put several Ukrainian generals on its wanted list. In Washington, the White House stated that they are gathering information about reports of unmanned aircraft attacks on Moscow. "We do not support attacks on Russia. That's all," said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House spokesperson.
Washington is the main supplier of weapons to Ukraine. They have demanded Kiev to use the weapons solely for defense or the recapture of Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia. (AP/AFP/REUTERS)