Vladimir Putin’s reaction to the drone attack in Moscow may indicate that he is trying to cover up Russia’s limited ability to respond to Ukraine, especially on the battlefield.
Instead of “Kyiv in three days”, drones attack Moscow. This can be called definitively the result of the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine. The Kremlin responded to the attack on the Russian capital in the spirit of “nothing terrible happened.” But what is behind such a reaction?
Trying to minimize the threat
Vladimir Putin tried to downplay the drone attack on Moscow to avoid exposing how limited he is in responding to Ukraine, according to the American Institute for the Study of War. Putin said that Russian troops allegedly attacked the Ukrainian military intelligence headquarters “two or three days ago” and claimed that the Russian armed forces continue to respond to the so-called “Ukraine war against Donbass” by attack on Ukrainian military infrastructure.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not announce the strike on the Ukrainian military intelligence base, and there was no confirmation of this statement by Putin, state ISW analysts. Putin also said Ukraine was allegedly trying to provoke a response and force Russia to mirror its actions. The fact that Putin is focusing on past and current missile attacks is likely his attempt to convey that Russia is actively retaliating and does not need to specifically respond to further “Ukrainian provocations.” So far, Putin has continued to respond to real and likely Ukrainian actions, ordering massive missile campaigns and massive drone strikes, likely due to the inability of Russian forces to achieve any decisive impact on the ground. of war.
In addition, Putin has expressed many Kremlin formulaic narratives aimed at galvanizing domestic support for the war. Putin also noted that while Moscow’s air defense systems have “worked satisfactorily,” Russia still needs to “work” on improving those systems. ISW analysts see the announcement as an attempt by the dictator to fend off criticism from Russian ultra-nationalists who have criticized Russia’s ineffective air defense system in Moscow and Russia’s borders with Ukrainian regions. Putin also accused Ukraine of allegedly planning to destabilize the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and using “dirty means” – both of these false narratives that the Kremlin routinely uses against the backdrop of failure of the Russian military.
Reaction in Russian society
The drone attack in Moscow caused a different reaction in the Russian information space. Moscow City Duma deputy Andrei Medvedev said that Ukraine allegedly carried out a quick drone attack for an information operation that had little effect. Igor Girkin took advantage of the strikes in Rublyovka to criticize the Russian elite, who, he said, “never thought about the country and never will” and are incapable of responding to Ukrainian attacks on Moscow, the region of Belgorod or in occupied Russia. Ukraine. Girkin also mocked Putin for continuing to call the war a “special military operation” despite the drone attack on the Russian capital.
The owner of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, blamed the Russian Ministry of Defense and called on Russian officials to defend Russia in training, and not “sit quietly”. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov threatened European countries that if they continue to supply weapons to Ukraine, they will not have the weapons they need to defend themselves when Russia “knocks on their doors. “
Preparing a counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
The Financial Times suggested that events such as drone strikes on the Kremlin and Moscow, raids in the Belgorod region, the attack by maritime drones on the ship Ivan Khurs could be part of Ukraine’s “formative operations” as a hope for UAF’s offensive.
As the publication explains, “formative operations” are designed to confuse the enemy, thereby forcing him to take actions beneficial to the other side. “They (these operations) are like the hands of a magician, distracting the viewer and forcing him to concentrate on something else,” explained John Spencer, an expert at the Modern Warfare Institute at West Point.
Ukraine used a similar method of actions during the summer-autumn offensive of 2022, during which the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated most of the Kharkiv region. Then, the FT wrote, the Ukrainian leadership discussed the possibility of an offensive in the south for a long time, after which the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck in the northeast.
Western officials say they don’t know how successful the Ukrainian offensive will be, but they are confident Ukraine will continue its “formative operations” and precision strikes, including long-range Storm Shadow missiles, until it begins.
I am David Wyatt, a professional writer and journalist for Buna Times. I specialize in the world section of news coverage, where I bring to light stories and issues that affect us globally. As a graduate of Journalism, I have always had the passion to spread knowledge through writing.