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Frontline report: Alleged Ukrainian drone strike targets Moscow, sparks mixed reactions

One of the drones used in the attack on Moscow on 30 May 2023. Photo: Screenshot from the video
Frontline report: Alleged Ukrainian drone strike targets Moscow, sparks mixed reactions
On 30 May, allegedly Ukrainian forces responded to recent drone attacks on Kyiv with a large-scale drone strike on a military base near Moscow, leading to some damage in residential areas and revealing social discontent within Russia.

Day 461: May 30

On 30 May, Ukrainians conducted a massive drone strike on Moscow. The strike’s target became the military base of an engineer battalion located in the southwestern suburbs. However, this particular military base was not chosen because it significantly influenced the course of the war. This base was rather chosen because of its proximity to Moscow. This was a direct response to the recent massive drone strikes on Kyiv. As you remember, the Russians attacked it over the last several days with dozens of Shahed kamikaze drones.

Moscow residents released dozens of videos, and Russian military analysts quickly created a list of locations where the drones were spotted, and reported that Ukrainians attacked Moscow with at least 32 drones, which is approximately the same number as Russians used a day before. Local residents also posted the result of air defense work. Some of them received critique, but because the Russian Ministry of Defense placed air defense next to a highway, it was obvious that thousands of cars would film it with their cameras.

Alleged drone attack strikes Moscow, Russia accuses Ukraine of “terrorist attack”

The Russian Ministry of Defense quickly released a report and claimed that there were only eight drones and that all of them were destroyed. This statement was not well-received because multiple videos were showing that plenty of drones reached their destination. The Russian defense minister said that 3 out of 8 drones were shot down with air defense systems, while five drones were neutralized by the Electronic Warfare Systems, which basically highjacks the GPS system of the drone and sends the drone in the opposite direction of the target.

For this reason, multiple videos show how drones hit the residential areas around the military base. The President of the Russian Federation made a statement and said that Ukrainians conducted a terrorist attack against civilians as retribution for the successful Russian strike on Kyiv, referring to the results published by the Russian Ministry of Defense. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that yesterday they conducted a successful precision strike and eliminated one more Patriot system, and blew up the main center of Ukrainian Intelligence. The Defense Minister, Shoigu, also claimed that over the last month, they have shot down almost 200 HIMARS rockets and 30 Storm Shadow missiles.

However, it turned out that the Russian public did not care about the strike too much anyways. Many of the civilians even cheered it. The reason why they had such a contradictory reaction is that the military site that Ukrainians targeted was located around 1 km away from Rublyovka. Rublyovka is the most prestigious area in entire Russia, where all the wealthiest people – the so-called Russian elite – live. So, most of the houses that were damaged by the drones that the Russian Electronic Warfare Systems directed away from the base belong to the Russian elite. A famous Russian dancer made a video complaining about the explosions in her region, which sparked this wave of positive reactions.

The positive reaction to the so-called bombing of Rubliovka became a serious issue that was even raised by the state media. One of the most prominent Russian news hosts said that this reaction is unacceptable because people who live in Rublyovka are also Russians, and laughing at it should be considered treason.

When it comes to the results of the strike, so far, the explosions on the military base were recorded and reported only by the local residents, and there is no information on whether any objects on the base were damaged or destroyed. From confirmed information, there was an explosion in an alcohol factory somewhere near the military base, which was highly likely caused by a drone strike. Apart from military objectives, the strike also demonstrated that the general population does not associate itself with the elite that rules the country. This also explains why Russia is struggling to implement drastic measures to ramp up its offensive effort – the social discontent is extremely high, and compelling the population to radically change their lives through general mobilization or wide industrial mobilization threatens the stability of the regime that the population barely tolerates.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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