The FT said that this week Kyiv showed it could conduct long-range strikes without western equipment after it launched locally made drones that hit three military bases deep inside Russia – one only 160 kilometers from Moscow.
Ukrainian defence officials and analysts said the attacks, which Russia said killed three people and “slightly damaged” two aircraft, are part of a new tactic that seeks to disrupt Russian military planning and rattle public opinion by showing that nowhere is safe.
“The attacks are repeatable,” said a Ukrainian government defence adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We have no limitation on distance and soon we will be able to reach all targets inside Russia, including in Siberia. In Ukraine, we know how hard it is to defend against these kinds of air attacks. Soon Russia will also have no safe zones.”
Ukraine’s government has not publicly taken responsibility for the strikes and many of the details remain secret.
“But what sets Ukraine’s latest attacks apart is their range and that they penetrated Russian air defences to hit strategic military bases previously considered invulnerable,” the FT said.
Defence officials and analysts said one lasting result of the attacks could be Russia dispersing its armed forces inside the country, which would help safeguard them but complicate operations to attack Ukraine.
A western defence official said these attacks will certainly make the Russians less confident. According to him, the Russians will have to think more about how they distribute military assets and keep them safe.
“The drone attacks are not going to win the war for Ukraine,” the Ukrainian adviser said.
“The best way to do that is to destroy Russian military assets inside Ukraine. But it does help our influencing operations inside Russia, which the West has not wanted to support.”
An explosion occurred at an air base near Engels in Russia early on Dec. 5, with two Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers reported to have been damaged. While Ukraine has not admitted to carrying out the attack, some experts have speculated that it might have modified a Soviet-era Tu-141 reconnaissance drone to conduct the strike.
Later, two more strikes on Russian air bases were reported, in Dyagilevo and near Kursk.
According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, three Russian servicemen were killed and another four were injured as a result of the incidents.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Air Force said the Russians “will have less aviation equipment” after the blasts.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine