An apparent drone attack on the Kremlin this week has sparked fears of an escalation of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.
OOn Wednesday evening, two remote-controlled devices flew into the Kremlin’s domed roof before being shot down by Russian air defenses, exploding but not harming anyone.
Following the incident, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin stated that flying drones by private individuals in Moscow is now banned.
Russia said the United States masterminded the attack and claimed Ukraine carried it out.
Washington and Kiev have denied responsibility, claiming Ukraine’s war effort is purely defensive.
According to the Ukrainians, it was either the work of Russians opposing President Vladimir Putin’s government – “local resistance forces” – or it could be a false flag operation organized by Moscow.
But the Kremlin and its supporters are convinced that a “terrorist attack” aimed at assassinating President Vladimir Putin has been carried out.
“Attempts to deny this, both in Kiev and Washington, are, of course, absolutely ludicrous. We know very well that decisions about such actions, about such terrorist attacks, are not made in Kiev, but in Washington,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Although Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time, Peskov boasted that “in such difficult, extreme situations, the president always remains calm, composed, and clear in his assessments.”
“It is primarily the creators and curators of the Kiev regime in Washington, London and NATO in general who should be held responsible for Kiev’s actions,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria wrote. Zakharova, on the messaging app Telegram. “They were the ones who destroyed the legitimate government of Ukraine, put opportunists and thugs in charge, gave them money and weapons, as well as a sense of indulgence and impunity, plus a political cover and military support.”
It is worth noting that according to reports in Western media, US officials were dissatisfied with attacks carried out in Russia itself.
Security expert Mark Galeotti, writing in The Spectator last month, said it is “clear that the West – or at least the United States – is working hard to dissuade the Ukrainians from actions that risk escalation, but not always with complete success” .
The call for response is increasing
Former President Dmitry Medvedev, who cherished the image of a liberal reformer during his time in power from 2008 to 2012 but now shows aggressive tendencies, suggested that Russia assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky as revenge.
“Following today’s terrorist attack, there are no other options than the physical elimination of Zelenskyy and his clique,” he wrote on Telegram.
Calls for reprisals echoed on Russian TV screens.
On his show Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, which airs on the state channel Russia-1, the eponymous pro-Kremlin presenter mused on ending the Black Sea grain deal, an agreement to allow Ukraine to also safely ship grain through Turkey. keep transporting. such as the killing of Zelenskyy, who was lobbying in Finland for more Western military support at the time of the alleged attack.
“What is important is not that the Kiev regime is a terrorist regime and should be recognized as such,” Solovyov told his audience and the panel.
“In my opinion, there can be no negotiations with this regime, not even on the grain deal. After today there can be no more negotiations of any kind with this leadership…. International terrorist Zelenskyy fled to Finland. He knew what was in the works.
‘That’s why he fled to Finland so that there wouldn’t be a retaliatory attack right away. He is so scared, he is such a pathetic coward, that he decided to stay there longer … Zelensky would definitely go to Germany not to go to Ukraine, because he thinks that we will not beat him in Germany. He believes that we will not kill him in Finland. He doesn’t care what happens to Kiev. A cowardly, nasty, lying beast.”
Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state-run news channel RT, rejected Ukraine’s false flag claims and tweeted to her 545,000 followers that if the incident had been “a cunning plan by Moscow,” “the situation now looks completely different.” would have seen”. ”.
Of the liberals outspoken against the war and against Putin, few believed it was an actual assassination attempt, and many were also skeptical of the false flag theory.
Speaking to Latvia-based news site Meduza, political scientist Kirill Shamiev said the drone strike could be part of the “formative phase” of Ukraine’s long-promised counter-offensive, aimed at destabilizing the political situation in Russia and attracting resources, such as air defense. , further away from the frontline and towards Moscow.
He noted that drones have also been used to take out Russian fuel depots and other targets of military importance.
Kirill also wondered why, given public concern about the war, the Russian High Command would give the green light to a false flag operation that would make them feel less secure.
For their part, Ukrainian officials have denied responsibility for any war attacks in Russia, though they often make derisive statements when the invading country appears vulnerable.
Yulia Latynina, a columnist for Novaya Gazeta, a once-independent Russian newspaper now operating from exile in Europe, said suggestions of an assassination attempt were “ridiculous”.
“Is a drone crashing into the dome of the Grand Kremlin Palace an assassination attempt on Putin? Did Putin spend the night there, under the dome?” she asked.
Latynina said the attack was rather an attempt at psychological warfare to throw off the Kremlin ahead of the May 9 celebrations and the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Next Tuesday, Russia will celebrate its World War II victory with a parade across the adjacent Red Square, which Peskov said would continue as planned with tightened security. The public event is of great significance to Putin’s Russia.
“War, as known since the time of Sun Tzu, is a path of deceit, and on the eve of an offensive this is very true,” wrote Latynina.