The Kremlin was rocked by an attempted drone strike on Wednesday, a clear sign that Russia’s war with Ukraine is no longer limited to just Ukrainian battlegrounds. The Kremlin spent most of the day blaming Ukraine for the drone strike, though there had been questions raised about Ukraine’s ability to utilize drones at that range.
But the Kremlin has begun blaming the United States for the drone strike as of Thursday morning.
“Attempts to disown this, both in Kyiv and in Washington, are, of course, absolutely ridiculous. We know very well that decisions about such actions, about such terrorist attacks, are made not in Kyiv but in Washington,” said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
He said the United States was “undoubtedly” behind the incident and added – again without stating evidence – that Washington often selected both the targets for Ukraine to attack, and the means to attack them.
“This is also often dictated from across the ocean … In Washington they must clearly understand that we know this,” Peskov said.
But the accusations were quickly refuted by the White House.
“I can assure you that there was no involvement by the United States. Whatever it was, it didn’t involve us,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said. “
WH's John Kirby tells @CNNThisMorning Peskov is "lying" with accusations that the US was pulling the strings behind the Kremlin attack. "Ludicrous claim," Kirby said, adding that: "we don't know what happened here."
— Alex Marquardt (@MarquardtA) May 4, 2023
As my RedState colleague Streiff laid out yesterday, there are plenty of theories about what happened/why it happened that are far more plausible than “Ukraine did it” or “Washington D.C. did it.” The theory that Russia itself committed the act in order to justify more attacks in Ukraine is far more plausible, even if there are holes in that theory, too. But the fact of the matter is that Russia has absolutely proven itself to be far weaker than everyone in the foreign policy sphere assumed, and the Kremlin knows it.
But that has made the hardliners in Russia even more hardline, calling for even such extremes as assassinating Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev publicly stated that Russia should “physically eliminate” Zelensky.
Reuters did note that the drone strike happened less than a week before an important Russian holiday.
The incident took place less than a week before Russia’s May 9 Victory Day celebrations marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two – an important public holiday and an opportunity for Putin to rally Russians behind what he calls Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Peskov said air defences would be tightened, and this was happening anyway for the military parade on Red Square, the centrepiece of the holiday, just over the Kremlin wall from the site of the alleged attack.
He said the parade would go ahead as normal, and include a speech from Putin.
Is it just me, or is Russia’s choreography a bit off?