Reserve general: Kremlin drone attack could have been work of amateurs

Jaak Tarien.
Jaak Tarien. Source: ERR

The drone attack that took place over the Kremlin the night before Wednesday appeared too feeble to have been the work of national services, with amateurs more likely at play, former Estonian Air Force commander, Brig. Gen. in reserve Jaak Tarien said.

"Speculating based on very thin facts, I would rule out a country being behind this. Had it been Ukraine, which I absolutely do not believe, they would have done it better. Had this been the work of Russia's own services, considering Russia has blown up entire apartment buildings to justify the Chechen War – they would also have done it better," Tarien said on Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" program on Thursday. "I would rather gravitate towards the theory according to which these were amateurs. Whether they were Ukrainian partisans or anti-government protesters in Russia, or simply hooligans. That is what the video footage would suggest," he added.

"I'm no explosives expert, while I have tossed a few hands grenades in my day. The video makes it clear the explosion was nowhere near that caused by a simple hand grenade. Rather the charge was aiming at a flash and some incendiary effect," the brigadier general said. "What we saw from the security footage was not a military grade explosive."

Asked how the drones might have reached the Kremlin, Tarien said the incident illustrates a current problem where air defense systems developed over the last decades are meant to take down much bigger flying objects in a situation where drones are dime a dozen. "Air defense systems are expensive and not always capable of countering small low-flying objects," he said.

The former Air Force commander also said that the drone seen in the video seems to have been a smaller device with rather a local operational range. "It was definitely not a device that could have flown there from the territory of Ukraine, it was not of sufficient size."

Tarien added that he believes Moscow's air defenses are capable of taking down drones big enough to fly there from Ukraine. "But warding off such smaller mainstream drones continues to be a problem and challenge," he said.

The Russian president's press service claimed on Wednesday that the Kremlin was hit by a Ukrainian drone attack, which caused little damage. The Ukrainian authorities have denied attacking the Kremlin.

The drone attack has sparked public debate over who might have organized it both internationally and in Estonia.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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