In a daring move, Ukraine launched a series of drone attacks on Russian territory on March 1, 2023, including an unmanned aircraft that flew within 100 kilometers of Moscow. The attacks, which occurred on Monday night and Tuesday morning, have caused concerns about Russia’s defense capabilities more than a year after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
According to Russian officials, the drones, which they claim were launched by Ukraine, did not cause any injuries or significant damage. However, they did cause minor damage to buildings and vehicles in the Belgorod region, where three of the drones targeted on Monday night. The Russian Defense Ministry also reported that Ukrainian drones targeted facilities in the Krasnodar region and neighboring Adygea.
Ukraine has not officially taken responsibility for the attacks, but officials have emphasized their right to hit any target in Russia. The country has previously avoided directly acknowledging responsibility for similar strikes and sabotage. Ukrainian drone strikes on the Russian border regions of Bryansk and Belgorod have become a regular occurrence, but other strikes reflected a more ambitious effort.
Local Russian authorities reported that three drones also targeted Russia’s Belgorod region on Monday night, with one flying through an apartment window in the capital. According to regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, the drones caused minor damage to buildings and cars. The strikes targeted regions inside Russia along the border with Ukraine and deeper into the country.
Russian commentators have described the attacks as an attempt by Ukraine to showcase its capability to strike deep behind the lines, foment tensions in Russia, and rally the Ukrainian public. Some Russian war bloggers even speculated that the drone attacks may be a rehearsal for a larger, more ambitious attack. The strikes represent a more aggressive effort by Ukraine than previous drone attacks.
The drone attacks have raised questions about Russia’s defense capabilities and its ability to respond to similar attacks in the future. Russia has already faced criticism for its handling of the conflict in Ukraine, and the drone attacks have further exposed the country’s vulnerabilities.
The attacks have also brought international attention to the conflict, with several countries condemning Ukraine for its actions. The United States, which has provided military aid to Ukraine in the past, has called for an immediate end to the drone attacks and urged both sides to return to the negotiating table.
The situation remains tense, with both sides accusing the other of violating ceasefires and escalating the conflict. The drone attacks are just the latest in a series of provocations, and it is unclear what the future holds for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.