'Political solution gets more difficult' as drone attacks on Moscow intensify
Published: Aug 01, 2023 10:37 PM
Police officers stand in front of a damaged building in the Moscow City business center following a drone attack in Moscow, on August 1, 2023. A drone hit the same tower that was damaged by another drone on July 30, according to city authorities. Photo: IC

Police officers stand in front of a damaged building in the Moscow City business center following a drone attack in Moscow, on August 1, 2023. A drone hit the same tower that was damaged by another drone on July 30, according to city authorities. Photo: IC

After civilian facilities in Moscow have been hit by frequent drone attacks in the past days, Russian authorities have blamed Ukraine for the attacks, although Ukraine has not formally admitted it was behind the strikes.

Chinese analysts said this situation will increase the difficulty of a political solution to the crisis. The US-led Western countries will tolerate or even support such attack on civilian facilities in Russia, because they believe this will spread fear among the Russian people and their support for President Vladimir Putin could be undermined, potentially forcing the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, analysts said.

However, this could result in an opposite consequence, as Russian people's hatred against the West will be reinforced and increased, and these attacks will force Russia to respond with more strikes and cause more bloodshed, increasing the hatred on both sides. It will vastly increase the difficulty of reaching a political solution to the crisis, experts noted.

Ukraine has not admitted that it was behind the strikes on Sunday and Early Tuesday, though Ukrainian officials appear to support such attacks in Moscow, The Guardian reported.

The Russian defense ministry condemned the attacks as Ukraine's "attempted terrorist attack." "Two Ukrainian UAVs were downed by Air Defense Forces over the territory of the Odintsovo and Naro-Fominsk districts in the Moscow Region," the ministry stated.

There have been frequent attacks of this type in recent days. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said on Sunday morning that the capital had been attacked by Ukrainian drones, with minor damage to two office skyscrapers in Moscow City business district. No one was hurt. 

Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that Russia wants to insulate Russian civilians from the conflicts in Ukraine, to minimize the war's impact on its people's daily life, so Moscow can avoid destabilizing public opinion which would have political ramifications. "Therefore, Ukraine is trying to ruin Russia's plan, to make Russians feel the pain of war as well so Russians might lose a sense of security and also their confidence in the Putin administration."

Apart from the attacks in Moscow, according to the Russian defense ministry, 25 Ukrainian drones tried to attack Crimea on Sunday night. Sixteen were downed by air defense systems and nine others were jammed by electronic warfare means. On July 28, the ministry reported that Ukraine had hit civilian infrastructure in Taganrog using an S-200 air defense missile converted into an attack missile. Several buildings were damaged and several people were injured.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said "Ukraine's attacks on the Crimean Bridge confirm that in aiding the Kiev regime, the US and its allies are in fact sponsors of terrorism," TASS reported on Monday.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, said Ukraine has launched attacks against Russia, whether government, military or civilian targets, long ago since the early days of the conflict, and according to media reports, there Russian strikes against Ukraine have caused casualties among Ukrainian civilians and damage to property. 

There has been an increase in Ukrainian attacks on Russian civilian targets because Ukraine's military forces cannot achieve the goal they set in the battlefield, so they are trying to use guerilla tactics, including drone attacks, to add trouble to Russia, Song said.

According to TASS, The Ukrainian military lost over 20,800 troops and more than 2,200 items of military hardware, including 10 Leopard tanks over the past month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told a conference call with military commanders on Monday.

Although US General Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Ukraine's counter-offensive against Russia is "far from a failure," he admitted that the fight ahead will be long and bloody, Reuters reported on July 19. Many Western media also admitted that the Ukraine counteroffensives are not as successful as expected.

The unsuccessful performance in the battlefield forces Kiev to add more inputs to launch more but smaller attacks against easier targets in Russia, Cui said. "The drone attacks have not been condemned by the West, because in many cases, they had the West's involvement," he said.

Technically, without guidance and accurate positioning services provided by the military reconnaissance system of the US and other Western countries, these drones would not hit Russian targets to cause significant damage, so in other words, the West, as always, is adding fuel to the fire, because Russia will definitely retaliate and the conflict will be more severe and bloodshed will be hard to stop, Song noted.

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, said at the daily press briefing on Monday, while answering question about attacks in Russia, that "we don't have any first-hand information on who is responsible for this attack. But certainly, we are against any and all attacks on civilian facilities and we want them to stop."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that war is "gradually returning" to Russia hours after Kremlin accused Kiev of targeting Moscow with drones on Monday.