Two drones plummeted into the Kremlin in the early hours of Wednesday, according to the Russian government, which attributed the strike in Moscow’s epicenter to Kyiv.
The incident could potentially embarrass President Vladimir Putin as he attempts to garner backing for his military campaign in Ukraine.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Explode on Kremlin Grounds
Russia reported that an electronic-warfare system intercepted and brought down the two unmanned aerial vehicles, which subsequently exploded on Kremlin premises.
The Kremlin stated the event resulted in neither injuries nor significant damage.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky refuted any involvement in the attack from Ukraine. “We didn’t attack Putin,” he declared in Helsinki during a meeting with Nordic state leaders.
Russia’s ex-president Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday called for the “physical elimination” of Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky after Moscow accused Kyiv of a drone attack on the Kremlin.https://t.co/YQ4Pwqpol9 pic.twitter.com/hOSaVnf9W8
— Channels Television (@channelstv) May 3, 2023
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, insinuated that perpetrators were, in fact, domestic adversaries of Putin.
Should Ukraine or its allies be behind the attack, it would expose grave weaknesses within the core of Russian authority. This would come just days before Victory Day, a significant Russian holiday celebrating Moscow’s triumph over Nazi Germany.
This development precedes Ukraine’s planned offensive to regain territory from Russian forces in the eastern and southern regions of the country.
Speculation also arose regarding the Kremlin’s potential involvement in the incident, which some analysts observed could grant Putin political justification for additional military mobilization.
Zelensky in Finland denied that Ukraine had attacked the Kremlin: “We are not attacking Putin or Moscow. We are fighting on our own territory… We don’t have enough, you know, weapons for this.” pic.twitter.com/zjM704dKOo
— Spriter (@Spriter99880) May 3, 2023
Drone Attack on Kremlin Could Expose Weaknesses Within Russian Authority
In Washington, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated the U.S. could not confirm the authenticity of the Kremlin’s reports, emphasizing “the United States is certainly not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.”
Jean-Pierre also mentioned Russia’s history of executing so-called false flag attacks. “Obviously Russia has a history of doing things like this,” she said. “Though again, I don’t want to speculate. I don’t want to get into hypotheticals from here.”
“Retaliatory strikes against Ukraine are to be expected,” noted Nico Lange, a defense analyst and Russia expert who formerly served as the chief of executive staff in the German Defense Ministry.
He added that any large-scale retaliation could deplete the Russians’ dwindling missile supplies, which are needed to defend occupied territories from the anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“Regardless of whether it was Ukraine or Russian opponents of Putin, the drone attacks on the Kremlin make Putin appear extremely weak and he has few response options that improve his situation,” said Lange.