Espreso. Global

Ukraine aims to disrupt Russia's comfort zone with new drone tactics, intelligence chief says

18 September, 2023 Monday

The head of Ukraine's Defense Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, says that Ukraine has expanded its campaign against Russia, using drones and missiles to attack military and economic targets

Budanov shared the information in an interview with the Economist.

The intelligence chief emphasized that last week the world saw new capabilities of Ukraine, thanks to a series of missile and drone strikes on ships, submarines and air defense systems in Crimea.

"Drones will definitely make the operations to liberate our territories easier. Drones have no fear. You don’t feel sorry for them," Budanov said.

According to the intelligence chief, one of the ways Ukraine is countering Russia is by using drones to achieve three key objectives

  • to destroy Russian air defense systems;
  • paralyze Russian military vehicles and aircraft;
  • and to strike Russian military industrial facilities, as happened when a drone hit a rocket fuel plant in the Tver region, north of Moscow. 

"We want to get them out of their comfort zone," Budanov said.

Budanov disagrees that the new strike capability will lead to an escalation or put Ukraine in the role of aggressor. He claims that his forces are following the rules of war. He also says that there have been no civilian casualties in Russia. This shows a conscious choice by Ukraine, it is not a matter of capabilities.

The other goal is psychological, to sow anxiety among citizens and disrupt normal economic processes in Russia. For example, major airports in St. Petersburg and Moscow often remain closed.

"No one believes the uk or United States were the aggressors in the second world war, although they also bombed the territory of Germany," the Ukrainian intelligence chief added.

Budanov says that nuclear threats are the inventions of those who support the Russian side. The war was "an absolutely conventional war...from the use of submarines to the use of strategic aviation."

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On August 28, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Ukrainian aircraft-type drones had allegedly attacked and shot down facilities in the Bryansk and Moscow regions. Two UAVs were allegedly destroyed over the Bryansk region. The mayor of Moscow announced the destruction of another drone in the Lyubertsy district of Moscow region. There was no mention of casualties or damage. The Astra Telegram channel, citing local residents, wrote that the drone was allegedly shot down 5 km from the Mikhail Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, located in Lyubertsy.

On Tuesday night, from August 29 to 30, Russia saw what is likely the largest drone attack in six regions at once, which Russia accused Ukraine of. At the time, it was reported that Russian air defense was allegedly triggered in the Moscow, Ryazan, Kaluga, Bryansk, Pskov, and Oryol regions. In general, not only was the night of August 30 restless in Russia, but drones continued to fly over Russian cities throughout the week.

On the morning of Thursday, August 31, the Russian Ministry of Defense once again accused Ukraine of a drone attack in the Moscow region. Later, the same accusations were made only about the Bryansk region. The Russian authorities reported that the drone was allegedly destroyed over the territory of the Voskresensky district of Moscow region. However, Moscow Mayor Sobyanin said that the drone was flying in the direction of Moscow. There were reports of flight delays at three airports in the Russian capital - Vnukovo, Domodedovo, and Sheremetyevo. At the first two, the authorities allegedly announced a Kover (Carpet) regime, which was later canceled. 

On Friday, September 1, the Russians again claimed that drones had allegedly attacked the Russian Kurchatov and were flying toward Moscow. The attack was previously reported by the governor of the Bryansk region of Russia, Roman Starovoit, and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The governor of the Bryansk region, Roman Starovoit, said that two Ukrainian drones attacked Kurchatov in the morning. He added that the administrative building and a house were allegedly damaged. In addition, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that another attempt to fly a drone to Moscow was stopped near Lyubertsy. However, the Defense Intelligence called this a lie, noting that a fire broke out at a factory in Lyubertsy (Moscow region) after the UAV attack, where electronics for missiles are manufactured. In addition, on Friday morning, the Kover (Carpet) regime was reintroduced at Moscow airports.

According to Natalia Humeniuk, head of the Joint Press Center of the Southern Defense Forces of Ukraine, on the night of September 2, the Russians again imagined an "attack by unknown drones" on the Crimean bridge. In reality, Russian was trying to strain the situation in this way. 

British intelligence has analyzed drone attacks on Russia and assessed the performance of Russian air defense. During August 2023, Russia's territory was attacked by unmanned aerial vehicles 25 times. Most of the drones reached their targets. This indicates Russian air defense faces challenges.

On September 12, in the temporarily occupied city of Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukrainian “kamikaze” drones attacked a "passport department" and a radio communications center.

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