Ukrainian drone strikes on Moscow are intended mainly to pressure Russia psychologically, security expert Rainer Saks says, while a distinct contrast between them and the Kremlin's use of drone weaponry can be seen in the fact that the Ukrainians have only attacked military or commercial buildings, and not civilian targets.
Appearing on ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade suvel" Wednesday, Saks said Ukraine: "Is trying to avoid civilian casualties, since past experience shows that large numbers of civilian casualties can cause a backlash from that population."
"These attacks are rather more psychological in nature, aimed at assuring the Russian population that Ukraine is capable of attacking high-value military objects in Moscow," Saks continued.
Saks said that Ukraine is trying to bring the reality of the war home to the people of Russia and to make them see the conflict in a different way.
Additionally, the strikes are aimed at forcing Russia to concentrate more of its air defenses on protecting the capital, Saks said.
"Since Russia has seen plenty trouble fighting in Ukraine for the last year-and-a-half, a large proportion of air defense capabilities have been transferred to the front, but have been lost there, meaning air defense capabilities have become scarcer [in Moscow]."
"Ukraine, by striking at individual objects in Moscow in this way, will certainly force Russia to have to concentrate more of its air defense on the capital, and this will in turn create new vulnerabilities, which can be exploited," he went on.
Attacks on military recruitment centers inside Russia, some of them involving arson, are at least in some cases the work of Ukrainian special forces soldiers, Saks said, but in others, those wanting to dodge the draft may be the culprit.
"Certainly there are also those that were not organized by [Ukrainian forces], because the information base in Russia up to now has functioned in such a way that it is decentralized, meaning if you manage to destroy your documentation held at the local military commissariat, it would be very difficult for the authorities to be able find you again and to draft you," Saks said.
"Russian central government has been dealing with this in an expedited manner since last year's mobilization, but it can be absolutely certain that they have not been able to rectify these things, meaning people have an additional motivation to set fire to recruitment stations precisely for this reason."
According to him, the Russian security service FSB is in a situation where they have announced that these are not spontaneous withdrawals of Russian citizens, but organized cases, but not organized by Ukrainians.
"They also cannot make it be known that the Ukrainians have the capability of carrying out such large-scale operations in Russia … hence why they have presented such a somewhat vague version of events, such as that it has been some sort of a scam or a taking advantage of simple-minded people," Saks concluded.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: "Ringvaade suvel", interviewer Jüri Muttika