Three Russian soldiers were killed Monday night after it landed Ukrainian drone attack on Engels basewhich is more than 600 kilometers into Russian territory.
Not just once, but three times, Ukraine has, by all accounts, successfully carried out drone strikes against the Russian air base in the past month.
According to retired Gen. Arne Bord-Dalhough, the attacks show weaknesses in Russia’s ability to defend the air base.
– The attack shows that Russia did not prioritize strengthening the defense of the air base. The Kremlin has been heavily criticized by military bloggers in Russia for not having a good enough defense, he tells Dagbladet and adds:
– Ironically, the last attack also happened on the Day of the Air Force in Russia. I don’t think this is a coincidence. It is a heavy blow from Ukraine against President Vladimir Putin.
– It is unlikely
The previous attack on Engels Base took place on December 5. Then, as now, Russian authorities claim that the deaths were caused by the wreckage of a Ukrainian drone.
They also claimed that no weapons or military materials were destroyed during the attack. This has not been confirmed or denied.
According to Reuters, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a Ukrainian drone was shot down as it approached the Engels base in the Saratov region.
Dalhough believes there are many things that go against the Russians’ interpretation.
It is unlikely that the soldiers were killed by the wreckage of a drone. If the Air Force had shot down the drone, this would most likely have happened for The drone has arrived at the air base. Anything else, he says, would have been very strange.
Like Dalhaug, Danish researcher Peter Viggo Jakobsen, lecturer in the Department of Strategy and War Studies at the Danish Defense Academy, believes the three attacks indicate that Russia is not good enough to protect its bases.
He points out that the attacks – since the air base did not stop working – have no military impact on the war in the future. However, he believes that this is a psychological defeat for Putin.
– Russia considers itself a superpower on a par with the United States and China. Therefore, it is a great defeat for them when, in their opinion, a small country like Ukraine is able to attack an air base so far in Russia. Jacobsen tells Dagbladet that it is an illusion that a good defense has collapsed.
It is believed that Russia cannot be angry either, because the air base is used to launch attacks against Ukraine.
– The attack was legalized because Ukraine was attacked first, Jacobsen says.
Not by chance
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, there had been no attack on Russian soil until last month.
Dalhough does not believe that Ukraine should have identified the target of the Engels Rule.
– It is a well-known air base and an important strategic target. This is one of the largest air bases that send bombers against Ukraine. He adds that the attacks show that Ukraine has weapons that can reach remote regions of Russia.
Dalhoge and Jacobsen both think that Ukraine has been smart about attacking military bases rather than civilian targets.
– If they attacked civilian targets, they would not receive the same support they are receiving today from the West. they depend on it. Jacobsen says they want to maintain the narrative that they are the “good guys” and Russia is the “bad guys”.
Dahlog says Ukraine does not want to be equal to Russia.
– At the same time, I do not think that they have enough of these weapons to be able to reflect the attacks launched by Russia against Ukraine, he says.
Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack in Russia, but authorities in the country have stated that such incidents are “karma” for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
– These are the consequences of Russian aggression, says the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuriy Ihnat, in an interview with Ukrainian television.
Dalhough believes the attack is evidence from Ukraine that war is approaching for the Russians.
– Support for the invasion of Ukraine has decreased a lot in recent months in Russia, according to opinion polls. I think more civilians are starting to worry now, even though the Russian authorities are trying to make up false stories. Such attacks weaken Putin’s image in the eyes of Russians.
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