Expert: I do not believe the Kremlin itself is behind the drone attacks

Rainer Saks.
Rainer Saks. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Security expert Rainer Saks does not think Russia is responsible for a reported drone attack on the Kremlin on Wednesday because this would show the armed forces in a bad light. Escalation is also unlikely as there are few choices left, he added.

Moscow said two drones attacked the Kremlin this morning and has called the move an assassination attempt on President Vladimir Putin's life. Putin was not at the site at the time. Russia blames Ukraine, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied this. 

"Russia announced it almost 20 hours later. This raises the question of what they were waiting for. Ukraine has denied any involvement in the attack and there has been no mention of it in the Ukrainian media. Information about other attacks had started to spread on social media, but not about this one. The basic conclusion to be drawn from this attack is that Moscow is no longer safe and that Russian air defenses will not be able to manage 100 percent," Saks told ERR.

"That this was done before May 9 [Victory Day] could have been expected. I can't say that it was definitely organized by the Ukrainians, because there is no clear information about it. It could have been organized by anyone. It could also be hooliganism. There are enough citizens in Russia who enjoy this sort of confusion," he added.

Saks said Ukrainian information operations had tried to create a sense of danger in Russia before May 9, when Russia celebrates the end of World War II.

"As Russian society is itself trapped in a victory cult, it would provide very fertile ground for Ukraine to achieve a very large information operation with such small-scale attacks. Even if it was not organized by the Ukrainians, it fits very well with the Ukrainian plan to put pressure on Russia," the expert said.

He said that Russia could now use this incident to put pressure on its own people.

"It can be assumed that they are trying to mobilize people into a more patriotic mood through this. But on the other hand, a huge Pandora's box has been opened up to speculation. All kinds of Russian partisans and Ukrainian partisans will certainly come into play here. I'm not sure that the Russian government will be able to turn this incident to its advantage," Saks said.

"I really don't believe that the Kremlin itself organized it, because it is too big of a risk to the Russian Army's reputation."

Saks said the context could be used to declare a state of war and a new wave of mobilization if the Ukrainian counteroffensive proves to be catastrophic for the Russian army.

"But for Ukraine, this would not be a problem. And Russia would be able to declare martial law without these drone strikes. I do not feel that an attack, that shows the Russian army in such a bad light, would have to come from the Kremlin," Saks reiterated.

The security expert said Russia no longer has the possibility of escalation.

"They have no possibility to escalate. They have done everything that can be done with conventional weapons against Ukraine, they will not use weapons of mass destruction. That is not a good enough excuse now. They do not have the power to escalate this conflict in any way. They do not have the reserves, they do not have the capacity to attack any other country, to expand the theater of war. They have no weapons left that they have not already used against Ukraine," he said.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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