Attempts to bomb Kyiv from the air are now almost daily, with seventeen attacks in May and this week six attacks in six days. For the Ukrainian capital, where life had returned to almost normal despite the war that is ravaging the country, even pleasant with the arrival of summer weather, this air campaign signals the return of fear. With an important nuance compared to previous periods of bombing: anti-aircraft defense has become very effective.
It is, in fifteen months of war, the third time that kyiv has seen such a major campaign of air attacks. The first campaign, from February 24, 2022, had taken place during the five weeks of the Battle of kyiv. But the Ukrainian armed resistance had routed the Russian army at the gates of the city. The second campaign, starting on October 10, essentially targeted energy infrastructure, with Moscow’s stated objective of depriving Ukraine of electricity and heating during the winter. But the Ukrainians held firm and repaired the destroyed installations in a few months.
This third campaign of air attacks has no objective officially announced by Moscow, but it comes at a crucial moment: on the one hand, attacks are increasing on Russian soil, whether through incursions into the border or by an attack of drones in the sky of Moscow, and, on the other hand, Kiev has recently multiplied the announcements on the imminence of new counter-offensives, intended to reconquer some of the Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russian army.
Russian rage towards the GUR
The only time this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned the airstrikes on Kiev was when he considered, after the drone attack on the Moscow region, that it was a response to an attempted Russian bombing of the Military Intelligence Service (GUR) headquarters in Kyiv. An assertion impossible to verify, since the building in question was apparently not affected. But Mr. Putin’s statement illustrates well the rage that Russian officials have towards the GUR, commanded by the audacious General Kyrylo Budanov. They had already accused him in October 2022 of being behind the attack on the Crimean bridge, and now see the hand of the GUR behind military operations on Russian soil, even when carried out by those who baptize themselves “Russian partisans”anti-Kremlin rebels.
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