Russians have already started installing air defence systems in Novgorod Oblast, Russia. The air defence systems that will protect Russian President Vladimir Putin and his close circle have been spotted near his residence in Yashcherovo village in the Valday district.
Source: Agentstvo. Novosti, an independent Russian media outlet
Quote: "These air defence systems protect Vladimir Putin and his close circle from a possible Ukrainian attack. Such a conclusion can be made after the air defence system has appeared near the president’s residence in Valday. There are no other facilities to protect here, apart from the residence."
Details: In particular, a resident of Valday city in Novgorod Oblast has sent to the media outlet a photo taken in Yashcherovo village last week. The photo shows an air defence system that was located in the village "a few weeks ago", according to the photo’s author. It is presumably a Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft gun missile system in the photo. The same systems were spotted in the central areas of Moscow and its suburbs.
Journalists have come to the conclusion that the air defence system appeared in Yashcherovo shortly after Ukrainian drones attacked Russian military airfields deep into Russia: the first attack on airfields near Ryazan (Ryazan Oblast) and Engels (Saratov Oblast) took place on 5 December.
Residents of Yascherovo and neighbouring villages that journalists have reached out to have confirmed that the air defence system is installed in the Valday district. One of them has said that it is not just standing there; it is on combat duty, with at least three soldiers constantly stationed near it. The radar antenna is always rotating as well.
It is noted that Yashcherovo is one of the two closest villages to the Russian President’s residence, which is situated on the bank of one of the local lakes named Uzhyn. It is a little more than six kilometres from Yashcherovo to the presidential residence.
"Putin’s Valday residence does not perform any representative function, even though it is called an official one. It is known more as a place for the personal leisure of Putin, his close circle and friends. Pop stars went to Putin’s private parties there, according to numerous sources. This is also the place where Putin often meets VIP guests behind closed doors," the journalists said.
The outlet cites a source and reports that Putin visits Valday very often; "he loves" this place.
People close to Putin, such as officers of the Federal Guard Service (FSO) of the Russian Federation and heads of departments in the President’s Administration.
There is no critical infrastructure, strategic facilities, large industrial companies or clusters of military equipment and manpower in this area.
However, back in Soviet times, stationary air defence means were located here: the 42nd Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment, stationed in the village of Valday-4.
The regiment’s unit was in disarray for some time in the 1990s, but the regiment was armed with new weapons and had its territory cleaned up sometime at the end of the 2010s.
On 19 January, Russian media outlets and social media began posting photos and videos of what appeared to be Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft gun missile systems installed on the roofs of several buildings in Moscow, in particular on top of the Ministry of Defence. It is not yet known whether the Russians have actually installed the rooftop weapons.
It was reported on 20 January that an air defence system had been installed 10 kilometres from the residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.