Geopolitical Insights

SITREP – Russia Accuses Ukraine of Drone Attack on Kremlin

May 3, 2023
What has Happened:
  • Earlier today, Russian authorities accused Ukraine of attempting to attack the Kremlin with two drones in order to assassinate President Putin.
  • The Kremlin called the attack a "terrorist act" and said that Russian military/security forces “disabled” the drones before they could strike their targets.
  • The Kremlin said that debris from the drones fell on the grounds of the Kremlin and did not cause any damage or result in any casualties.
  • However, Russia has not provided any evidence that Ukrainian forces were responsible for this attack and a spokesperson for President Zelensky called this a “trick” to stoke nationalistic fervor as Russia’s Victory Day parade approaches.
  • This incident follows reports that a massive fire erupted at an oil depot in Crimea this past weekend after it was hit by two Ukrainian drones.
  • A Kremlin spokesperson said that “Russia reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit” and there is fear that Russia will use this incident to increase its attacks against Ukrainian cities.
Why it Matters:

“The alleged Ukrainian drone attack is interesting since in my view it can only have negative outcomes for Ukraine. Not sure which drones have the range to attack the Kremlin or who has Putin’s movement plans. Ukrainian forces would have to be in Russia and close enough to attack within the range of the drones. Could also be a false flag operation to open the door to targeting Zelensky in spite of world opinion. Also, this event distracts the Russian people from the losses and failures in Bakhmut and instead focuses them on the Kremlin “attack” to spur nationalism in order to continue the efforts in Ukraine.” General Frank Kearney

  “The Russian narrative is incredulous for several reasons. If the drones were launched from Ukraine, they traveled over 300 miles without challenge to reach their intended target in Moscow. However, if true, Russian air defenses are feckless which is more problematic to the security of Russia than the vulnerability of Putin. This really seems too much like Russia’s use of “false flag” narratives to justify their actions or to send a message. In this case, the message’s timing is no coincidence. It comes directly before Russia’s 9 May celebration. It is no doubt intended for his domestic audience. Russia is not the aggressor; Ukraine is. If Putin’s intent is to escalate his military’s actions, we should not expect the use of nukes. He knows that the risk is too high, and its consequences are possibly uncontrollable. Rather, there will be no cessation of Russia’s aggressive tactics on the ground. He will continue to replenish his forces even if they are untrained or are conscripted from his prisons. Continual indiscriminate use of artillery and long-range missile strikes are inevitable.” General Spider Marks

“I agree with the false flag premise. It allows Putin to play the role of defender of the homeland as Spider points out to rally Russian support. I don’t think that Ukraine would take such an action in advance of the pending offensive as this type of escalation could result in Russian actions that would potentially impact the offensive. For Ukraine, the timing of a strike on the Kremlin is not helpful. There is always the wildcard of an independent organization launching the strike. I have not seen any details on the type drones.” General Robert Ashley