Moscow claims that during the night of May 3 Ukraine flew two drones over the Kremlin in an attempt to assassinate Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. To back-up their story, the Russians released a video showing two explosions just above the Kremlin tower resembling, more than anything else, a fireworks display celebrating the upcoming May 9 Victory Day.
This charge was immediately denied by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “We don’t attack Putin or Moscow,” he said during a visit to Finland. “We fight on our territory.” He added that Ukraine is leaving Putin’s fate to the tribunal, referring to the International Criminal Court, which has already issued an arrest warrant for Putin on charges of war crimes.
Earlier, a spokesman for Zelenskyy rejected any claim that Ukraine would try to kill Putin. “It’s a trick to be expected from our opponents,” said Serhiy Nykyforov, accusing Moscow of deliberately “escalating the situation ahead of May 9th.”
Western leaders also expressed scepticism. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that anything Putin says must be taken with “a shaker of salt”.
Zelenskyy’s advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said such an attack would be counterproductive for Ukraine, giving Russia a justification for mass attacks. Instead, he argued, the incident was staged by Russia to create a distraction and seize the initiative.
Indeed, if we are to believe the Russians, the Ukrainian drones must have travelled over 600 kilometres of Russian airspace, undetected and unharmed until they reached right above the Kremlin, at which point the Russia air defenses were finally able to shoot them down. Oh yes, and the U.S. must have supplied them since they “masterminded” the attack, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Decisions on such attacks are not made in Kyiv, but in Washington”, he said without providing any evidence to back up the claim. White House national security spokesman Admiral John Kirby has told broadcaster MSNBC that the claims by Russia are false. He said the US does not encourage or enable Ukraine to strike outside its borders.
So, who really launched the attack? Some say it was Ukrainian partisans in Russia itself. Others that it was a group of Russian partisans opposed to Putin. A former Russian legislator, now exiled, told CNN that’s precisely what happened. “It’s one of Russian partisan groups,” Ilya Ponomarev said, “I cannot say more, as they have not yet publicly claimed responsibility.” The most plausible explanation, however, is that it was none other than Putin himself. That would explain the colourful display provided for the video cameras and how no damage whatsoever was caused by the blasts.
Let us point out that launching such false flag operations has become commonplace under Putin’s regime. In fact, it was just such a false flag operation that brought him to power in the first place. Back in 1999, the Russian FSB which was under control of then prime minister Putin blew up four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk, killing more than 300, injuring more than 1,000. The FSB then sent agents to blow up a fifth apartment building in the Russian city of Ryazan. However, they were caught in the act by ordinary Ryazan cops on the beat. The bombings were blamed on Chechen rebels and spread a wave of fear across the country which gave Putin the excuse to start the Second Chechen War, boosting his popularity greatly and helping him attain the presidency within a few months. The details of this operation were made public by dissenting FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who published a complete expose in his noteworthy book Blowing up Russia. His book was the primary reason Putin had Litvinenko assassinated using radioactive polonium tea as the murder weapon.
So, what motivation would Putin have to initiate this particular false flag operation?
One theory is that he is using this as another excuse to escalate the conflict. This is unconvincing, however, as past experience has shown, Putin needs no excuses to ramp up his rapacious aggression.
It’s far more likely that he staged this farce to beef up support for the war domestically – especially if he plans to extend the mobilization of soldiers.
That is also the conclusion of Yale University professor Timothy Snyder, widely considered one of the top experts on Russian and Ukrainian affairs.
“The Russia propaganda response is a reason to believe that this was a Russian maskirovka. Over the course of the fourteen months of this war, a number of embarrassing things have happened to Russia. Battles have been lost. Installations have exploded inside Russia. They are exploding right now, in the days before and after the Kremlin incident. In most cases, the Russian response has been to ignore the setbacks. When a response was forthcoming, it was usually late and confused. In the case of the drones over the Kremlin, Moscow produced a crisp press statement. That suggests policy.
“Why would Russia stage the Kremlin incident? That is the easy part: to try to rally Russians to support the war, and to claim that Russia is its true victim and is permitted to do whatever it wants. Russian propaganda television used the incident to call for war crimes measures. Russia’s former president, Dmitri Medvedev, called for the murder of Ukraine’s president. The day after the attacks, Russia’s own press spokesman said essentially the same thing, in less wild language: this gives us permission to ‘retaliate’ in Ukraine. In other words, the idea is the reframe the narrative so that Putin and Russia are the victims,” he stated in his May 4 “Thinking About…” blog.
Another expert observer, Per Anders Åslund, a Swedish economist and former Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, noted that everyone knows that Putin lives in his bunker in Novoogarevo, outside Moscow. “Ukrainian intelligence would not make this most amateurish of mistakes.”
“Another revealing fact is that according to the video that circulated on the internet two men were climbing the roof of the Senate when the “missile” struck and they were unperturbed. Why were two men on the roof of a Kremlin building at 2:30 am in the middle of the night? Could they have been firemen sent up to extinguish any fire because the Kremlin command knew this was about to happen?” he added.
This just goes to show how desperate Putin is starting to become in trying to mobilize his populace. Unfortunately, it also shows just how dangerous he is and why he must be defeated and brought to justice.