An office tower in Moscow has been hit twice by drones in three days - contradicting the official Kremlin line that all approaching missiles have been shot down. The Russian Defence Ministry has blamed Ukraine for the attack. President Zelensky has said that the war's gradual return to Russia is "inevitable, natural and absolutely fair".



All fine and good - provided civilians are not targeted


TV presenter Serhiy Prytula warns on NV about drone attacks that endanger civilians:


“We differ from the Russians in that we strike with precision. The sheer indiscriminateness of the targets hit by the Russians in Ukraine is precisely why they are perceived as madmen who don't care whether it's a military installation or a high-rise in Dnipro that's attacked. ... If a large number of civilians are killed by unknown drones or artillery fire, it might cause Ukrainian social media users to exclaim a gleeful 'Retaliation at last!'. But Western society will be highly sensitive to such things. And this might cause the scales to tip.”



A clear strategy


Ukraine is right to go public about launching attacks like this, the web portal Liberal argues:


“Kyiv has succeeded in dealing a severe psychological blow to the Russian citizens, who for the past 18 months have been blasted by state propaganda telling that Vladimir Putin is winning the 'special military operation'. ... Ukraine is not only abandoning its tactic of silence or ambiguity regarding previous attacks on Russian regions near the war zone, the annexed Crimean peninsula, and Moscow itself, but is also developing a strategy to publicly announce drone strikes on Russian territory that it claims are legitimate.”

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Breaking the apathetic silence


The drone attacks are meant to arouse internal Russian resistance, Der Standard believes:


“The right of self-defence that Ukraine must be granted after Russia's unprovoked attack allows Kiev to attack all buildings of military relevance on Russian territory. ... However avoiding civilian casualties must remain as high a priority as possible. Kiev has managed this surprisingly well so far. The nervousness expressed by many Russians on social media also shows that the bombing of military targets in Moscow is having an enormous effect. It may even result in the emergence of a critical mass in Moscow to resist - which has so far been alarmingly absent.”



Zelensky shouldn't overplay his hand


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is taking a huge risk, De Telegraaf warns:

“Zelensky must tread carefully and not overplay his hand. The demand for F-16 fighter jets has already caused irritation among some Nato partners. ... It's understandable that he seeks revenge for all 'his' dead and wants to make the Russians, who continue to live happily in Moscow, feel the horrors of war. He also gambles on fostering unrest in Russia and diminishing public support for Putin and his war. From a strategic perspective, instilling fear is justifiable. ... Nonetheless it wouldn't be surprising if Zelensky has been advised by his close friends to use such attacks judiciously.”



They will fight like spiders in a jar


The attacks will fuel doubts within Russian society, political scientist Igor Reiterovich hopes in NV:


“Many are now wondering: What is with the best air defence systems in the world that the Russian authorities, especially in Moscow, pride themselves on having? ... If such incidents continue, more and more questions will be raised. And we know very well how they like to fight each other, like spiders in a jar. ... And then will come the accusations directed at the Ministry of Defence: where have the huge sums of money gone that were supposedly spent on the army and the missile and air defence systems?”


A small dose of fear aids Putin


In a Telegram post republished by Echo, exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky fears that Russians will be tempted to back their president:


“On one hand, the war becomes routine, a familiar backdrop. But on the other hand it penetrates deeper into everyday life, sowing fear and uncertainty about the future - does that remind you of something? This is Putin's preferred strategy leading up to elections (presidential elections are scheduled for 2024): he stirs up a desire for security and protection during challenging times, emphasising the importance of not changing horses (including the 'proven leaders') in midstream. However at the same time society must not be overly frightened, so as to avoid massive discontent and questions to the president about how we ended up living like this.”



The war is destroying us from within


Exiled political scientist Sergey Medvedev recently received a reminder on Facebook of a post from six years ago when he was still enthusiastic about Moscow. Now he reflects in a new Facebook post:


“I cherished Moscow-City. ... It had potential: that was Russia as it could have been, with all the possibilities to live, work, and prosper. And now, six years later, I watch - not with schadenfreude but with cold curiosity - videos of explosives landing there. ... I feel no remorse for the City, nor for my naive feelings from six years ago, nor for this Russia. And I contemplate how the war not only devastates Ukraine but also annihilates everything within us: memories, joy, beauty, past hopes - leaving only the frigid curiosity of a pathologist.”

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