false flag? Analysts say Russia ‘conceived’ Kremlin drone attack, blames Ukraine and West


A sign prohibiting unmanned aerial vehicles from flying in the area is displayed near the State Historical Museum and the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, Russia, May 3, 2023.

Evgenia Novogenina | reuters

As speculation grows that Russia staged a drone attack on the Kremlin, which it blamed Ukraine for, political analysts say there are many reasons why the alleged attack – which Russia called a “planned terrorist attack” – simply doesn’t add up. .

Russia accused Ukraine of attempting to attack the Kremlin on Wednesday, saying the government in Kiev had tried to attack Russia’s center of government in Moscow using two unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not injured. The Kremlin said in a statementin which it was portrayed as an assassination attempt (in fact, Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time of the alleged incident) but gave no evidence that Ukraine had carried out the attack.

Ukraine denied any involvement in the incident, with officials saying it was more likely that Russia was planning a large-scale terrorist attack against Ukraine in the coming days.

Russia has often been accused of plotting “false flag” attacks, which it can blame on Ukraine, and use to justify or escalate its own military aggression against the country as the war rages on in its 15-year history. Goes in th month.

“Of course, Ukraine has nothing to do with drone attacks on the Kremlin. We do not attack the Kremlin because, firstly, it does not solve any military task,” said Mikhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the President of Ukraine .

The Kremlin went further in its allegations on Thursday, Claiming that Washington helped Ukraine plot and orchestrate the drone attack. again, it didn’t provide any proof Its claim

‘staged’ attack?

This image taken from video obtained by Reuters on May 3, 2023 shows a flying object in an intense burst of light near the dome of the Kremlin Senate building during an alleged Ukrainian drone attack in Moscow, Russia.

Ostorozhno Novosti | reuters

As such, the ISW noted, it was therefore “extremely improbable” that the two drones “could have penetrated the multiple layers of air defense and exploded or been shot over the heart of the Kremlin, providing spectacular imagery good on camera.” was caught like that”

Furthermore, the Kremlin’s “immediate, coherent and coordinated response” to the incident also raised suspicions, suggesting that the attack was “designed internally in such a way that its intended political effect outweighed its embarrassment, said the think tank.

If the attack had been a surprise, the ISW believed, “It is very likely that the official Russian response would have been initially very disorganized as Russian officials tried to generate a coherent narrative and offset the rhetorical implications of an apparent informational embarrassment.” scrambled to.”

CNBC contacted the Kremlin for its response to claims that it was possibly behind the drone strike. It hasn’t responded yet.

doubts about the footage

Doubts about the authenticity of the attack soon began to arise as video footage purportedly showing drone strikes began to circulate on social media.

The video showed smoke billowing from the top of the Kremlin and a fire burning in the domed building of the Senate Palace inside the Kremlin walls. Another video showed a drone exploding over the Senate domed building. Teary-eyed onlookers immediately noted that two unidentified figures could be seen climbing onto the vaulted ceiling when the drone exploded.

A view of the roof of the Senate Palace of the Kremlin from Red Square on May 3, 2023 in Moscow, Russia. Video footage shows the wreckage of the drone after the building caught fire.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Questions have also been asked as to why the Kremlin waited so long to announce the incident hours after it allegedly occurred, and why Russian social media channels, generally speaking about the war with Ukraine, Russian military strategy and leadership. Let’s talk about , were silent about an incident that allegedly occurred in full view (albeit at night) in central Moscow.

Why, did videos of the “attack” appear only after the event and, exactly, who captured the footage – and what prompted them to film it just moments before the drones were shown above the Kremlin?

Western officials also cast doubt on Russia’s claim that Ukraine had made an attempt on the Russian president’s life. For one, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US could not validate Russia’s allegation and that the claim should be taken with a “very large shaker of salt”.

Analysts also noted that, if the incident was an assassination attempt, it may reflect either supreme security being operated by the Kremlin or a poor understanding of Putin’s habits.

Mark Galeotti, a political analyst, academic and author of several books on Russia, said shortly after the alleged incident came to light, “People should really stop talking about this as an assassination attempt against Putin.” Kremlin talking points.”

Galeotti said on Twitter, “He rarely goes to the Kremlin, let alone stays there overnight, and there was no scheduled morning meeting or any meeting that would suggest that he would be there at his[palace]”. K) can be in the flat.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to start production at the Kovkty gas field, which will feed the Power of Siberia pipeline carrying Russian gas to China, via a video link in Moscow, Russia December 21, 2022 .

Mikhail Kuravlev | Sputnik | reuters

“Also, I understand, fairly well protected. Not quite a bunker, but something that would be hard to hit by anything unable to make a few sharp turns, which would make it vulnerable,” Galeotti said. .

He said that should we believe that Ukraine was indeed behind the “attack”, it should be regarded as a “demonstrative strike, a demonstration of capability and a declaration of intent” along the lines of “Moscow is not safe”.

why do it?

Analysts are careful to point out that it is impossible to trace exactly who launched the drones. What matters instead, they note, are the implications of the “attack” and how Russia will use it domestically or internationally.

Analysts said the timing of the alleged attack, coming just days before the May 9 Victory Day parade commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, was neither intended nor intended.

The Kremlin said the drone attack “occurred on the eve of the Victory Day, May 9 parade, in which foreign guests are also planned to attend.”

It added that “the Russian side reserves the right to retaliate where and when it sees fit”, also suggesting that the attack could be used to escalate its aggression against Ukraine.

Moscow had hoped the event would strengthen its efforts to portray Ukraine as a potential threat to Russia, analysts said, especially ahead of this year’s Victory Day parade, with Russian officials this year” was a thin case citing security reasons” and concerns. possible attack.

Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University said that Russia has “considerable firepower” and that it is reckless to talk about defeating the country.

Tian Bing | China News Service | Getty Images

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