February 3, 2023

Ukrainian Official Outlines Intentional Ambiguity on Strikes Inside Russia

5 min read

KYIV, Ukraine – A fuel depot in Russia was engulfed in flames, surveillance video said shortly after catching the glowing lines of rockets fired from low-flying helicopters. A fire broke out at the Military Research Institute near Moscow. Excess fuel tanks have exploded.

These and other similar attacks in Russia have been the most interesting and confusing military developments in the last months of the war. If done by Ukraine, they once represented acts of almost unimaginable bravery; One of them sounded the siren of the first air strike on Russian soil since World War II.

Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out helicopter attacks, and military analysts have suggested that Ukraine’s sabotage is too much for other fires. Ukraine, for its part, has made no official acknowledgment but has instead turned a blind eye to its possible involvement, with one official suggesting that the fire was just Russia’s worst “karma.”

Now, a senior Ukrainian official has articulated his government’s policy on attacks inside Russia, calling it one of strategic ambiguity.

“We neither confirm nor deny,” said Oleksiy Aristovich, an adviser to President Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff.

In an interview, Mr. Aristovich compared Israel’s long-standing policy of ambiguity on nuclear weapons to another issue of extraordinary geopolitical sensitivity.

“After what is happening, officially we do not say yes or no like Israel,” he said.

The escalation of attacks on Russia by Ukraine could have far-reaching effects, perhaps influencing public opinion about the war in Russia, or provoking the Kremlin to the point of increasing its own attacks.

If Western weapons were deployed to attack Russia, it would fuel Russian propaganda blaming the West for the war and increasing the likelihood that the conflict could cross the Russian-Ukrainian border. ۔

The fire at Russian military bases, which began on April 1 with a helicopter attack on a fuel depot in Belgorod, about 15 miles from the Ukrainian border, has added a new element to the military equation of war. They raise the possibility that Russia could begin to inflict damage on its own soil after weeks of devastating damage in Ukraine.

Attacks come in two forms: clear military strikes with low-flying helicopters near the border, and deep-seated sabotage inside Russia.

Russian and Ukrainian media reports have attributed more than a dozen fires to attacks or sabotage. In addition to the helicopter attack, at least three other suspected military fires were reported at military sites, which military analysts say may have been deliberately set.

And while some fires clearly point to an act of attack or sabotage – such as the two fires that erupted one after another in the fuel tanks in Bryansk on April 25 – others are unrecognizable, not Russia and Nor has Ukraine suggested anything to do with it. War

These events have sparked a debate over whether a wider set of targets in Russia could bring home to the Russian people the war, which is currently only seen on television and filtered through state propaganda. The price is at home.

Alternatively, fires and explosions could cause rallies around the Russian flag in ways that could harm Ukraine, such as supporting normal mobilization in Russia. This will enable the Kremlin to send more troops to the battlefield, despite the heavy losses so far.

Ukrainian authorities, for their part, have hinted at their involvement with black humor.

A deputy interior minister, Anton Gerashenko, posted a “no smoking” sign on Twitter with a picture of the fuel depot in Bryansk wrapped in flames.

Kyiv also hinted that any counter-attack in Russia is only part of the war that Russia has started, and asked, perhaps fatally, what more could Russia do with Ukraine? After all, the Russian army is already engaged in a full-scale offensive.

“If you have decided to invade another country, to carry out massacres, to crush peaceful people with tanks and to support killings through warehouses in your area, then sooner or later it is time to repay this debt. Will come, “said Mikhail Podoliak. President Vladimir Zelsenky. “Therefore, disarming the killers’ warehouses in the Belgorod and Voronezh areas is just a perfectly healthy, natural process. Karma is a tough thing.”

Mr Aristovich’s comments on Ukraine’s policy were the clearest ever to clarify the Ukrainian government’s ambiguous position, with officials in Kyiv openly advising the Russians to expect the Russians to continue a mysterious fire. Should do

So far, Ukraine has received public support from Britain for a direct attack on Russia, said James Happy, a State Department official. The attacks were “absolutely legitimate”. Mr Happy also confirmed the use of British-supplied weapons, saying that their use of force inside Russia was “not necessarily a problem”.

The Russian military, which has been firing missiles and artillery at military targets, including Ukrainian cities and fuel depots, for two months, warned on April 13 against a retaliatory attack by Ukraine.

Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian news agencies that Russia would respond by targeting the Ukrainian leadership. “We see attempts by the Ukrainian military to divert items from the Russian Federation and carry out attacks,” he said. “If these incidents continue, the Russian military will target decision-making centers, including Kyiv.”

Three major fires broke out inside Russia following the warning, including at the Military Research Institute in Tver, near Moscow.

The Ukrainian army’s arson and helicopter attacks in Russian territory have also served to boost morale. Seeing the effectiveness of their small unit’s strategy against the Russian military in the battle of Kyiv in March, middle-ranking Ukrainian commanders have suggested that the strategy continue inside Russia.

“It will not end until we bring the war to Russia,” said the commander of a Ukrainian brigade, which said it was only known by its nickname Akola, because it was publicly known. There was no authority to speak.

He said it was no secret that the Russian people supported the war, not just Putin, and that the rest of Russia was peaceful.

“We need to intimidate Russian society,” he said, referring to the attacks on his own country. “They need to send people like me to Russia.”

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