After six consecutive days of drone attacks on the Moscow region last week, one would think the shock of sudden late-night explosions might compel some Russians to consider what Ukrainian civilians have endured during 550 days of relentless Russian attacks.
Instead, some residents near the Russian capital have taken to social media to vent about the inconvenience of being woken up in the middle of the night, question why the “international community” isn’t coming to their rescue, and blame Ukrainian “terrorists” for targeting civilian areas. (Never mind that Moscow has repeatedly attacked residential areas in Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed drones.)
No injuries have been reported in the recent string of attacks, and Russian officials claim to have shot down most of the drones that they say caused only “minor damage” to a building in Moscow City and several broken windows elsewhere. Kyiv has not confirmed or denied involvement in the drone strikes.
Russian media widely covered the attacks, airing interviews with residents who showed off their broken windows.
“It was scary to go up to the window,” said one man recounting his shock to wake up and find his window shattered. “This is the first time anything like this has happened to me.”
Separately, he told Deutsche Welle, “At first, there was panic. I thought the building had been hit by a shell.”
“It’s very scary. What if it hits the house next time?” another resident told DW, noting that she has a young child in the home. “Who would have declared such a war on us in Moscow?” she asked, unironically.
In a video that went viral, a well-known blogger complained about how rude it is for drones to be launched “when people are sleeping.”
“Ukraine is going crazy. Drones at three in the morning. Have you lost your mind?” Hilmi Forks said. “I got scared and jumped off the couch from this explosion... If even one more drone crashes anywhere here in Moscow... I’ll pick up a rifle and go to the front. You got that?”
Other residents have reportedly called for restrictions on the use of fireworks because they say they are so on-edge over drone attacks. “Every time there is a rumble of firecrackers exploding late in the evening or at night, we think that this is again a drone attack,” one resident was quoted saying by local media, telling the regional governor in a plea to stop the “lawlessness” of nearby restaurants setting off fireworks.
While Russian officials have squarely blamed “Ukrainian neo-Nazis” for what they describe as terrorist attacks on Moscow, experts have said at least some of the drone strikes are more likely to have originated from Russian territory—otherwise the drones would be flying hundreds of miles across Russian territory without being intercepted by missile defenses.
«Украина сходит с ума. В 3 часа ночи беспилотники. Вы что, вообще ли сдурели?»
Сегодня Москву снова атаковали беспилотники. Реакция транса Хилми Форкса убила — он пригрозил взять автомат и поехать на фронт, если Украина продолжит атаковать Москву. pic.twitter.com/UxJnBs7i3d
— Двач (@ru2ch) August 23, 2023
Sergei, a resident of the Moscow region who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, said he and his colleagues at work had become skeptical of the drone attacks precisely because of the distance the drones would have to travel unimpeded.
“We have a theory that these drone attacks are done by our government in order to justify a new mobilization,” he said.
Sveta, his wife, said people were generally unfazed by the strikes unless they were personally affected: “Nobody cares,” she said.