Russia says it foiled an alleged attack on Kremlin, Putin
Ukraine denies Russian claim Kyiv sent drones to hit Kremlin
US sending about $300 million in military aid to Ukraine
Tallinn, Estonia: As Russian officials tell it, two Ukrainian drones flew into the very heart of Moscow under the cover of darkness, reaching the Kremlin before they were shot down at the last minute.
Adding to that humiliation is that the incident occurred less than a week before Victory Day, Russia’s paramount military holiday. In some of the videos of the claimed attack, the decorated viewing stands and tribune for the day’s ritual Red Square military parade can be seen prominently.
A cloud of questions hangs over the claim.
Why did the Kremlin announcement come about 12 hours after the purported incident? Why didn’t videos of the purported attacks appear until after the announcement? Why haven’t the images been verified?
For President Vladimir Putin, the confession of Ukrainian drones reaching the Kremlin could be justification for a brutal step-up of attacks on Ukraine. Russian officials persistently contend — repeated evidence to the contrary — that the military goes after only military targets.
A drone attack on the Kremlin would be the most severe penetration of Russian airspace since German teen Matthias Rust landed his little single-engine plane on the fringes of Red Square in 1987. Announcing the attack — or even faking it — risks Russia undermining its citizens’ trust in its frequent assertions of military superiority.
Severe retaliation is already in the wind, including threats aimed specifically at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who denied attacking the Kremlin.
“After today’s terrorist act, no variant remains other than the physical elimination of Zelenskyy and his clique,” said former Russian president and deputy chairman of the Russian security council, Dmitry Medvedev,
The chairman of the powerful lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, compared the Ukrainian government with the terrorist Islamic State and said he will demand “the use of weapons capable of destroying it.”
Russia’s nuclear doctrine says the country can use nuclear weapons if it comes under a nuclear strike or if it faces an attack with conventional weapons that threatens “the very existence” of the Russian state.