Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ukraine threatening Russia with drone bombardment

Kiev is gearing up for a massive drone bombing campaign against Russia this winter, as the fighting on the ground is expected to enter a lull due to harsh weather conditions, a Ukrainian general in charge of UAV operations has stated.

In an interview with The Independent, Sergey Baranov, who heads the General Staff’s Main Directorate of Combat Strike Systems, teased a “new aerial bombardment” of Russia’s Crimea Peninsula – which hosts the key base of the Black Sea Fleet – and the country’s border areas.

“We intend to capitalize on the experience we have gained over the previous years and use drones to inflict a devastating effect on the Russians when the fighting will be much more static,” he added.

The general also explained that Kiev places special focus on targeting Crimea – which he described as a key logistical hub – to prevent Moscow from portraying it as its own territory.

“We are aggressively fighting against this,” Baranov stressed.

The peninsula overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in a public referendum in 2014 following a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Neither Ukraine nor its Western backers have recognized the results.

Baranov noted, however, that Kiev should expect “numerous counterattacks” from Russia, which he said has amassed considerable military resources.

In recent months, Ukrainian forces have ramped up drone attacks on Russian territory, particularly on the bordering Belgorod and Kursk Regions, as well as Crimea, which became the target of particularly massive raids involving dozens of UAVs. The Russian Defense Ministry said that in one such attack which took place last month, Moscow’s forces destroyed a total of 36 drones off the peninsula’s coast.

Around the same time, Ukraine launched a UAV attack on the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that one of the drones crashed into a nuclear waste storage building, while accusing Kiev of trying to orchestrate “a full-fledged nuclear disaster.”

According to Russian officials, Ukraine has also launched several long-range drone raids on Moscow, with most UAVs being downed by air defenses or veering off course due to signal jamming. On several occasions, nevertheless, some of the aircraft damaged buildings in the Russian capital, most notably in the Moscow City business district.

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