This morning’s drone attack on Moscow has prompted much soul-searching and finger-pointing as Russians look to apportion blame after experiencing first-hand what Moscow inflicts on Ukraine on a daily basis.
First up, the absolutely furious response from the head of Russia's Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin whose profanity-laden outburst called on officials from the Russian Defense Ministry to “tear the s**t out of their offices.”
He went on: “You stinking scum, what are you doing? You cattle! Get your asses to the Department of Defense. You haven’t done a f**king thing to step up. Why the f**k are you allowing these drones to fly into Moscow?
An angry statement from Prigozhin regarding the unexplained incident with unidentified UAVs that crashed in Moscow this morning. pic.twitter.com/NJ4ZPaoPM9— Dmitri (@wartranslated) May 30, 2023
At the same time, Prigozhin appears to be fine with drones flying over the Rublyovka suburb, the most elite district of Moscow very near President Vladimir Putin’s Novo-Ogaryovo residence.
“The fact that they fly into Rublyovka to your home – the hell with it, let your houses go up in flames,” he said.
“But what are ordinary people to do when drones carrying explosives crash into their windows.”
The head of Wagner further confesses that as a citizen of Russia, he is deeply outraged by the situation.
And he wasn’t finished there.
“These scum calmly site on their obese asses, smeared with expensive creams. I believe that people have every right to ask them these questions, these lowlifes.”
Ultra-nationalist Igor Strelkov took aim at President Putin’s lack of comment on the situation.
“As expected, Putin will not speak about today’s Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow. There are more pressing topics worthy of the Commander-in-Chief’s attention,” Strelkov wrote on Telegram.
Others offered a more practical take on matters. Moscow journalist Alexander Khinstein suggested Moscow needed urgent reinforcement of its defenses, saying: “The drone squadron’s raid on Moscow today is a new reality to be understood.
“Undoubtedly, Ukraine’s sabotage and terrorist attacks will only increase. And defense and security measures must be drastically strengthened, especially concerning countering drones. It includes finally adopting the necessary legislation.”
Meanwhile, those in charge of these defenses were keen to play down the event, with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin assuring early this morning that little harm was done.
“In the early hours of this morning, a UAV attack caused minor damage to several buildings. All the city’s emergency services are on the scene. They are investigating the circumstances of what happened. No one has been seriously injured so far,” he commented.
And on state TV, the Kremlin’s propagandists were even trying to sell it as a positive thing.
Russian "military expert" Konstantin Sivkov says this morning’s drone attacks on Moscow were "very positive" because they’ll help to mobilise Russian society against the enemy pic.twitter.com/X8cPW9jORI— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) May 30, 2023
On social media, Russians’ reactions ranged from fear and panic to hatred.
“Why are Russians leaving Moscow en mass?” wrote one person. “It’s horrible what’s happening on the outskirts of the capital.”
Some residents of the Belgorod region, which has regularly come under fire from Ukrainian artillery, warned Moscow’s experience this morning is just the beginning, and it is time for Moscow citizens to get used to attacks.
“It is just the beginning. A warm-up, so to speak... So, either Moscow citizens have to get used to attacks, as we have done, or the officials in charge need to get moving and do something substantial apart from the tales of the red lines.”
Another person took a far more conciliatory tone, suggesting Russia should enter into negotiations to avoid drone attacks.
“I keep wondering: are drones really needed in military conflicts? Can’t the conflict be resolved peacefully? People know how to negotiate, and history is replete with examples.”
Tatiana Kalinina, a pensioner who lives near one of the affected buildings in a leafy corner of Moscow, said the attack was "completely unexpected" for her and a "bad surprise."
"I somehow thought (the conflict) was far away, that it would not affect us," she told AFP, standing in the bright green grass outside a cordoned off building.
"And then, suddenly, it came to us."
The raids are likely to be seen as a psychological blow and a major embarrassment for the Kremlin, which has gone to great lengths to say the protracted conflict in Ukraine does not pose a threat to Russians.
The Kremlin insisted that there was no “threat” to Russians, adding that Putin was being informed of the attacks in “real time.”
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