Discover more from ArnGrimR
Moscow under attack!
Red Flag, or escalation?
On may 3rd, Russia released several video’s of the Kremlin, on which a rising smoke plume was visible, emerging from the dome of the Senate building. Another video showed 2 soldiers on the roof of that same part of the Kremlin, and a flying object, likely a drone, that approached from above, and then exploded in a large fireball.
Moscow accuses Ukraine to have staged an attempt to assassinate Putin, while Kiev denies adamantly that they were involved in this attack in any way. In the Western media the conclusion was drawn within the first hours of the news breaking: very strong doubt and questions in regard to the story as told by the Russians.
CNN spoke about it, and CNN military analyst Col. Cedric Leighton (ret.) had the following reply:
“Does it seem likely that this was a Ukrainian attack?
Unlikely. From for that very reason [the long distance between Ukraine and Moscow), because the Russians have radar installations all along this area right here. […] Now, it is possible that Ukraine could have mounted this operation from inside Russia using special operations forces. That is not beyond the realm of possibility, but it is unlikely.”
Discussing it further, the host and Leighton pointed out the stands and preparations for the May 9 parade, a very important Russian celebration: Victory Day. On this day, they commemorate their victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. That those preparations were visible, supported that the video footage was indeed recent. But Leighton continued: “And so from a symbolic perspective, it would make sense for somebody to attack something like this. But it also would be a perfect place to mount a false flag operation.”
He cast further doubt on the Russian story, as he analyzed the footage. He noted that the incoming drone suffered a direct hit by Russian anti-aircraft systems, placed around that area to protect the Kremlin. Yet he added: “It seems as if they knew exactly what they were shooting at and when that target would be arriving in their area.”
Media all across the West gave the same line. False flag. Attempt by Russia to divert attention from their own failures and war crimes. And so on.
As an aside, Leighton remarked “And as President Zelenski said, they don't target the leadership. Russia does.”
On Feb 27, Zelensky spoke about how he predicted that Putin would be assassinated by his own people. That was in line with the words of our very own Senator Lindsey Graham, who asked “Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?"
And no, this is not just something the Russians are called on to do themselves. In an interview, Davydiuk remarked “Ukraine will end the war with either political or physical assassination of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.”
Back to the attack on Moscow.
There are plenty of stories, prior to May 3rd, that paint a very different picture. On April 24 of this year, the Washington Post reported how Ukraine held off anniversary attacks on Russia, at the behest of the US. “Kyiv’s head of military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, planned bold strikes deep behind enemy lines that unnerved officials in Washington. Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the country’s military intelligence directorate, the HUR, instructed one of his officers “to get ready for mass strikes on 24 February … with everything the HUR had,” according to a classified report from the U.S. National Security Agency. Officials even mused about a sea-based strike using TNT in the Black Sea port city of Novorossiysk, a largely symbolic operation that would nevertheless demonstrate Ukraine’s ability to hit deep inside enemy territory.”
Bold attacks, deep behind enemy lines. Planned for Feb 24, the anniversary of the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Not with direct strategic aim or goals, but ‘largely symbolic’, to show the Russians, and the world, that Ukraine is capable to hit when and where they want. (So give them more weapons!)
Where it gets really interesting, is when the WaPo mentions the data leaked by the junior National Guardsman: “On Feb. 22, two days before the anniversary, the CIA circulated a new classified report: The HUR “had agreed, at Washington’s request, to postpone strikes” on Moscow.” Strikes on Moscow. Very specifically. And postponed at the request of Washington. The WaPo points out that at least some American officials are of the opinion that attacking Russia directly, especially when the Ukrainians use US made and imported weapons, is very risky, and might lead to escalation where Putin feels so threatened that he would resort to nuclear weapons in retaliation.
Are their warnings heeded? Likely not, perhaps in Washington, but definitely not in Kiev, as the WaPo continues: “And yet mysterious explosions and drone strikes continue to happen in Russia. Ukrainian officials are often coy about the incidents, hinting that they’re responsible without directly taking credit.”
Are those empty threats and saber rattling?
At the end of January this year, Budanov also spoke with the Washington Post. He was asked to comment on remarks made by Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council. Speaking on “two drone attacks in December on Russia’s Engels air base in Saratov, more than 370 miles from the Ukrainian border” (which is a very important base: it houses nuclear capable first strike and retaliatory strike bomber units, and is heavily protected), Danilov explained that this was to show “that we have the ability to reach many kilometers farther than they could expect.” WaPo pointed out that any attack on foreign soil, as was the case here, would fall under the direct responsibility of the HUR, lead by Budanov.
Budanov told WaPo “to expect more and that Ukraine has agents working inside Russia.” He explained the reason for the attacks on Engels: “This shattered their illusions of safety. There are people who plant explosives. There are drones. Until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored, there will be problems inside Russia.”
The bombing attacks killing Darya Dugin, in August last year, and on war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in Saint Petersburg early April, show that this indeed weren’t empty threats. I could add several other attempted and carried out attacks, either by plane, or by small units inserting into Russia from the Ukrainian border, to carry out revenge attacks, where the Ukrainian forces had no qualms targeting civilians, even children, as was the case in Bryansk.
As CNN noted in a column by Frida Ghitis, such plans to push Russians to kill Putin themselves might have come to fruition: “Another possibility is that the attack was carried out by Russians opposed to Putin. A former Russian legislator, now exiled, told CNN that’s precisely what happened. “It’s one of Russian partisan groups,” Ilya Pomarev said, “I cannot say more, as they have not yet publicly claimed responsibility.””
If true, and a former Russian legislator, now exiled, has such information, there likely was cooperation with the West, through organizations such as the CIA. But the author realized that there is little certainty, and ended in a very open manner: “Whatever happened in the night skies over Moscow is yet another sign that this will be a very hot spring in Ukraine, with fighting entering a new and more intense phase, which could determine the outcome of this terrible war.”
The Financial Times added their own view. As reported through another source (Slavyangrad), as the article is behind a paywall:
“Ukraine could launch drones at the Kremlin, writes the Financial Times, citing a number of sources and experts.
They point to the inconsistency of the version that these strikes were staged by Russia itself. In this case, Moscow would have shown the inability to protect the country, which hurts Putin's authority.
"I have my doubts about a false flag operation because the political damage to Putin is enormous," said a Western diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A Western military man told the newspaper that Kyiv had the means to defeat the Kremlin.
“Ukraine has shown that it can take a commercial product off the shelf, scale it up and then creatively use it for lethal purposes. And previous Ukrainian drone attacks have shown how difficult it is to defend against such strikes,” the source said.
American military expert Michael Kofman believes that Ukraine was "at least indirectly involved" in the operation, and the goal was to "demonstrate Russia's vulnerability." At the same time, according to him, "the American administration does not always look positively at attacks on Russian territory."
At the same time, the publication cites the opinion of the director of American military intelligence, Scott Berrier. In his opinion, the device was launched from Russian territory. He says that early indications were that the drone operator was making eye contact with them.
The newspaper also recalls that American intelligence leaks spoke of the intention of the GUR to launch a series of strikes on Moscow.”
This ties together nicely what I have been thinking and reading about this whole story.
Of note is the reply by Zelensky:
“We don’t attack Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory.”
There are numerous artillery and missile attacks from Ukraine into Russian territory, there are attacks on strategic air force bases, and manned incursions along the border region. All documented. This is a bald-faced lie. Interesting to note that Zelensky was in Finland during that attack. To prevent immediate retaliation?
To those that say it was a Russian red flag, as an excuse to step up actions, the following statement by former Russian president Medvedev seems to support their interpretations. As reported by different media, he called for “the 'physical elimination' of Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky”. Daily Mail continued “'After today's terrorist attack, there are no options left aside the physical elimination of Zelensky and his cabal,' said Medvedev, who has been increasingly hawkish since Moscow's Ukraine offensive.”
However, Russia, from the beginning, has made the decision NOT to target Zelensky, and did not even bomb the civil and political headquarters and offices of Ukraine. They still don’t. Verkhovna is still standing. On the other hand, Medvedev has been acting, throughout this war, as Putin’s attack dog, saying what everybody thinks, but what Putin, as President, cannot say himself. It is part of the political game, both for internal Russian political goals, as for international posturing and warning. What Medvedev states, signals ideas that are alive in Russia, but does not reflect official positions or intent, at all.
Does Russia need an excuse for targeting Zelensky? When the US started the war in Iraq and in Libya, they had no qualms to immediately target their respective heads of states, Saddam and Qaddafi, either. So again, definite escalation, from Russia, but unofficial, without any direct power or teeth behind it.
In that light, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has no illusions:
Either way, none of what I presented here fully proves or disproves either side. A lot of it is opinion by different observers. But it DOES demand to remain very critical of the constant ‘news’ presented by the Western media, and it points at a very strong plausibility or at least capability and motive for Kiev to undertake such attack.
What is important, is what Russia, and Ukraine, are going to do next. Is Ukraine going to get desperate for results, so they can keep the flow of money and aid going? Counter the increasing number of stories in the West that seem to start prepare the Western population for a defeat or withdrawal from Ukraine?
That is one last element to bring to mind. Ukraine benefits from provoking Russia, in an attempt to force their Western allies into a much more active role of support. From the point of view of Kiev, preferably by actively entering the fight themselves. The missile attack on Poland is one example of a staged attack by Ukraine, aimed to blame Russia, and goad the West into action.
Something to keep an eye on. As Frida Ghitis remarked, this will be a very hot spring in Ukraine.
May peace come quickly.
Further proof of the wisdom in the strategy to wait 48 or even 72 hours after an important event, to wait and see what information becomes available before drawing any conclusions.
In a conversation with Judge Napolitano, former CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson says the decision to launch a drone attack on the Kremlin was made by the United States. Paul Joseph Watson reported on Johnson’s words as well: “According to Johnson, the attack must have been spearheaded by the Biden administration and the US military-industrial complex because “decisions on such attacks are made not in Kiev, but in Washington.””
”“[It] didn’t cause significant damage. The psychological impact, though, there are people that disagree on this, my view is that this is going to galvanize Russia, not create fear or discontent or division. There are others who believe that by doing this, it is going to portray Russia as weak and create internal problems. I simply note that the reactions of former [Russian] President [Dmitry] Medvedev, as well as members of the Duma – they are livid, they are outraged, and calling for escalatory retaliation against Ukraine. So I think in many respects this backfired,” said the former State Department official.
He also added that the attack smacked of desperation and was an attempt to provoke Russia into a major escalation “to get the United States more deeply involved in this conflict.””
Not rising to the level of hard proof yet, either, but yet another insider voice that plainly states that this smacks of US involvement.