The Economist reported Sunday that Ukraine’s increasing drone attacks inside Russia are carried out using intelligence gathered by Kyiv’s Western backers.
The report cited sources close to Ukrainian drone developers and Ukrainian military insiders, including a drone coordinator within Ukraine’s military intelligence. It detailed the planning that goes into the drone attacks, which involves gathering intelligence on Russian air defenses.
“Operators launch in the early morning (when defenders’ concentration might be lapsing) and use an order of attack designed to keep air defenses busy. They gather intelligence (often from Western partners) about radars, electronic warfare, and air-defense assets,” the report reads.
Since Ukraine has significantly stepped up drone attacks inside Russia, Biden administration officials have insisted that the US does not “encourage or enable” the operations. The report contradicts the claims, as the US is the leading Western supporter of Ukraine’s war against Russia.
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported Sunday that the US is expecting Ukrainian drone attacks on Russia to increase even more. He described a flurry of 42 drones that targeted Crimea on Friday as “a foretaste of what’s ahead.”
The Economist report said one purpose of the drone attacks, which involves targeting residential buildings in Moscow, is to have a “psychological impact” on “ordinary Russians” not affected by the war, meaning they’re purposely targeting civilians.
When Ukrainian attacks on Moscow first became more frequent last month, Yurii Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said that “now the war is affecting those who were not concerned.” President Volodymyr Zelensky said the war was returning to Russia’s “symbolic centers.”
The Ukrainian military intelligence source told The Economist that the drone attacks also target military sites, such as Russian air bases. “We respond to appeals from our brigades. They tell us they know where Russian arms are being stored, but have no way of hitting them, and they plead with us to help,” the source said.