An international blame game is afoot, sparked by what appeared to be a drone attack on the Kremlin on Wednesday – Moscow says the U.S. masterminded it, Kyiv has denied any role and western analysts have concluded Russia attacked itself.
“I’m sure it was staged because if our guys wanted to hit the Kremlin, they would do it much harder than that,” 50-year-old Igor tells Kyiv Post. “We were laughing a lot, really, a lot.”
Laughing as she speaks, his wife Iryana, 63, adds: “It wasn't as good as I would want it.”
Iryna and Igor pictured in Kyiv’s Shevchenko Park. PHOTO: AFP
If Moscow’s claim that that attack was a U.S. masterminded assassination attempt on the life of President Putin is true, then the videos of the incident suggest it was a poor attempt.
CCTV footage shows the Kremlin at night and a small drone flying towards a Russian flag before exploding, leaving no visible damage on the building, never mind penetrating to where Putin could feasibly be.
Most Ukrainians Kyiv Post spoke to believe the attack was staged though 29-year-old Oleksandr said it could have been “Russian partisans”.
“I was glad when I heard the news and I think people who care about Ukraine did it.
“I think it was local [Russian] people who get tired of so-called authorities.”
Oleksandr takes a break from work at Kyiv’s Palats Sportu. PHOTO: Kyiv Post
Regardless of who was responsible, the ramifications of the incident were keenly felt in Kyiv overnight as Russia launched 18 drones at the capital. All were intercepted with one exploding over the centre of the city in an explosion loud enough to set off car alarms.
It was the third such attack in just four days.
“The Kremlin has already responded,” 54-year-old Elina tells Kyiv Post. “They hit us for the third night this month.”
What is of concern to those in Kyiv is that the incident could be used as a pretext for an increase in attacks on the capital.
Recalling the attack on the Crimean Bridge in October which presaged Russia’s months-long bombing campaign of Ukrainian cities, Oleksandr said: “We remember that response, all those strikes. I think they are going to do something.”
Oleg, 36, says he is “sure it was fake and scripted by the Kremlin” but added he is concerned the Kremlin could “do a lot” in retaliation, adding: “They could, for example, hit [the President’s office on] Bankova street.”
Ilya and Oleg in Kyiv’s Shevchenko Park. PHOTO: Kyiv Post
Igor and Iryna are more relaxed, despite last night’s attack, the likes of which have become part of everyday life in the capital. “I don’t care much about what will happen,” says Igor. “I don’t think they will escalate in any way.”
A continuing debate in the international community is whether or not Ukraine should be given weapons capable of striking Moscow. The U.S. has held back from supplying such weapons for fear of escalating the conflict further.
In Kyiv, the argument makes little sense and seems deeply unfair in a city that has been subjected to regular mass-missile and drone attacks by Russia.
“If they hit Kyiv, why can't we hit Moscow?” 36-yeard-old Oleg tells Kyiv Post. Elina echoes the view, saying: “If they have right to kill us, why should we be silent?
“The aggressor should be punished. Russia is a terrorist state, there's no other way to talk to them.”
Oleksander concurs: “Yes, of course Ukraine has the right to hit the Kremlin.
“It was not us who started this. But with the help of God, we will end it.”
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