Russia could ‘intensely respond’ after Ukraine's first warplane attack
Published: Jun 10, 2024 09:19 PM
US Ukraine crisis Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US Ukraine crisis Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

After a Ukrainian warplane, for the first time, fired a weapon that struck a target inside Russia, Chinese experts said that Ukraine's move is an attempt to demonstrate its "confidence" to the US and Europe in order to gain more support and assistance in the future, but Russia is anticipated to respond intensely and vigorously.

According to Sky News, a Ukrainian military source said that a Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) mission struck a Russian command node on Sunday in the area of Belgorod, which is close to the border with northeastern Ukraine. It was not immediately clear what type of munition was used in the attack, including whether or not it had been a Western weapon, the report said.

The attack was confirmed as a "direct hit," and was the first UAF air-delivered munition delivered against a target within Russia, the military source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Ukraine has previously launched multiple drone strikes deep into Russian territory.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview with the CBS television channel that American weapons have already been used to deliver strikes on Russia's territory, TASS reported on Sunday. His words came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on May 31 that US President Joe Biden had authorized the use of American weapons for attacks on Russian territory.

Ukraine's move aims to take advantage of this momentum in an attempt to turn the tide on the battlefield, because only in this way can it convey its so-called confidence to the US and Europe, and thereby try to obtain more weapons and support from them in the future, Cui Hongjian, a professor with the Academy of Regional and Global Governance with Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Monday.

With a "peace summit" scheduled to be held in Switzerland on June 15 and 16, Cui noted that through its first ever use of a warplane targeting Russia, Ukraine also hoped to help push itself to potentially gain diplomatic leverage by creating some "improvement" on the battlefield.

As Ukraine has started using warplanes, and especially after the future addition of F-16 fighter jets, Ukraine's strikes on Russian military targets may become even more unrestricted, analysts said, noting that against this backdrop, Russia is anticipated to make a more intense response.

According to another report from TASS on Saturday, a Russian company called Fores will pay a bonus of 15 million rubles, or $168,000, for the first F-16 fighter jet that could be shot down in Ukraine, as Kiev prepares to receive F-16 jets from countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium.

Given that Ukraine is currently trying to gain momentum on the battlefield, perhaps the best response for Russia is to further clarify the objectives of its actions toward Ukraine and to use a combination of diplomatic and military means, if the country wants to take the initiative, Cui said. "Now may be a crucial but even more difficult time for Russia to make a choice," he said.