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Ukrainian strike on Moscow could either escalate the war or end it, leaked US intelligence shows – NYT

A leaked US Defense Intelligence Agency document, obtained by The New York Times, outlines four “wild card” scenarios in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. These hypothetical situations include the deaths of Presidents Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, changes in the Russian Armed Forces’ leadership, and a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin.

In the scenario where Ukraine strikes the Kremlin, the implications could be wide-ranging. It might prompt an escalation, with President Putin potentially responding to public outcry by initiating a full-scale military mobilization and considering the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Alternatively, public fears might push Putin to negotiate a settlement and end the war, New York Times writes.

The Biden administration has been particularly concerned about the possibility of a Ukrainian strike on Moscow, as it could lead to a drastic escalation by Russia. This apprehension is one reason why the United States has been reluctant to provide longer-range missiles to Kyiv.

Although the analysis suggests that the war will likely remain protracted, these “wild card” scenarios could potentially result in an escalation, a negotiated end to the conflict, or have no significant effect on the war’s trajectory. US officials neither confirmed nor disputed the document’s authenticity but warned that the leaked documents were dated and may not represent the current assessments of various intelligence agencies.


Ukrainian top generals have said that Ukraine can really win the war against Russia it will have long-range striking capabilities. It is currently in the process of constructing its own long-range missiles.

Short-range missiles like the GMLRS that have a limited range of roughly 70km have proven to be essential for Ukraine’s Kherson counteroffensive, as they allowed decimating Russian supply lines. However, Russia has since adapted, forcing Ukraine to search for other possibilities to accurately hit targets deep inside Russian territory.

The US has refused to provide ATACMS long-range missiles to Ukraine, according to General Milley. Despite this setback, Ukraine has already successfully used US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range precision-guided bombs, or JDAM-ER winged bombs. In addition to seeking aid from the US, the UK has also reportedly considered providing Ukraine with Harpoon anti-ship missiles or Storm Shadow air-to-surface missiles.

In the recent half a year, Ukraine has been conducting long-range strikes inside Russian-held territory, raising speculation about the means used. These include a base targeted 100 km beyond the frontline, explosions in Feodosia (250 km beyond the frontline), explosions on Russian airbases located 400 and 700 km beyond the frontline conducted with kamikaze drones, and explosions on airbases in occupied Crimea.

Ukraine needs long-range missiles to really win the war, country’s top generals say

Researcher: Ukraine will build its own long-range missiles. If the West allows.

This article was updated with a background section
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