A fireball is seen rising over the Kremlin in Moscow after an alleged drone strike by Ukraine last night on a building where Putin resides when he is in Moscow (Putin wasn’t in the Kremlin at the time and was at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti). No one was injured or killed in the explosion, but outrage among Russian leaders, who claim the drone was sent by Ukraine, could lead to reprisal attacks against the Ukrainian government in Kiev, and thus to a new phase in the Russia-Ukraine war. Russian lawmakers have demanded that Putin now “destroy” the Kyiv government. Ukraine quickly responded to the claim, saying it had “nothing to do” with the alleged attack. Ukraine’s president, Vladimir Zelensky, was visiting Finland on Wednesday, his fourth known trip abroad since Russia’s full-scale invasion; it was announced that his visit would be extended another day (Source: The Daily Mail (link)

By government.ru, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94177154

    After a drone exploded last night over the Kremlin in Moscow, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman (and former president) Dmitry Medvedev said: “After today’s terrorist attack, there are no options left other than the physical elimination of Zelensky and his clique.” But there remain many uncertainties about who launched this drone

    Letter #87, 2023 Wednesday, May 3: Drone explodes over the Kremlin

    A small drone, of unknown origin, carrying a relatively small explosive device, flew last night over the Kremlin — in the center of Moscow, Russia — and exploded near the roof of a Kremlin office building, setting the roof on fire.

    No one was injured or killed.

    Here are two links to a very brief video, just a few seconds long, of the drone and its explosion: link and link.

    Here is a second link to a longer, more detailed video (scroll down to the 5th picture, and click on that picture, which says “Watch the full video”; it is 1 minute 22 seconds long: link.)

    All the videos shows a tiny white object flying through the night over the Kremlin, then exploding over the office building roof.

    So the explosion, in itself, did not have a devastating effect.

    But the symbolic significance of the explosion — that an armed drone could fly to Moscow, reach the Kremlin, and explode against the roof of a Kremlin office building where President Vladimir Putin is often present — is great. Just as a drone flying across Washington D.C. and striking the US Senate Office Building would suggest the vulnerability of the US leadership, so this drone suggests the vulnerability of the Russian leadership.

    In the first hours since the drone exploded, many voices in Russia have been raised calling for retaliatory missile strikes on the center of Kiev, against the political leadership of Ukraine.

    Outspoken former Russian president and current Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said today in a post on social media that the overnight drone attack on the Kremlin has left Moscow with no options but to “eliminate” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his “clique.” Essentially Medvedev calling for a ‘decapitation’ strike of the government in Kiev. (link, link, link and link)

    For this reason — because this drone strike could signal the beginning of a new phase in the now 14-month-old war between Russia and Ukraine — it seemed important to write something about this strike.


    Three main theories

    For the moment, no one knows where the drone came from, or what its true intent was.

    Commenters on the internet range in their views.

    Three main theories are being asserted (there is as yet no certainty that any of the theories is accurate or true):

    Theory #1 is that this drone came from Ukraine, and was an actual attempt to strike and either injure Russian officials in the Kremlin, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. A number of Russian officials have asserted this theory publicly. They are therefore calling for a retaliatory missile strike on Ukrainian government buildings in Kiev. But Ukrainian officials are denying that they sent the drone.

    Theory #2 is that this drone came from Russia itself, and so was a “false flag,” sent in order to claim that Ukraine had sent it, and so to provide a motivation for a Russian response against Ukrainian leaders in Kiev, including Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

    Theory #3 is that some other agency or actor was responsible for the drone. The proponents of this theory argue that such agencies or actors have an interest, for various reasons, in provoking a still wider war between Russia and Ukraine.

    We will continue to follow this story.

    We will also continue to pray daily for peace in Ukraine, and an end to this tragic war.    


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