Russia's Ability To Protect Airspace In Doubt After Recent Strikes Against Military Targets Far From Border With Ukraine

Dr. E.C. Beuck
Meeting between President Vladimir putin and Governor of Kursk, Roman Starovoit in Oct 2018Photo byадминистрация Президента России via Wikimedia Commons

Another drone strike has successfully struck military targets in Russia this week. This time, an oil tanker was set on fire on the Kursk airfield, though the Governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said in a Telegram post that there were no casualties and the fire itself was localized. This is the third attack against Russian military targets in Russia itself this week, with earlier strikes being conducted against military airfields located in the regions of Ryazan and Saratov, which resulted in casualties.

Despite the importance of these targets being linked to the war ongoing in Ukraine, the government of Ukraine itself has generally not claimed responsibility. Indeed, Ukraine has so far not generally acknowledged any responsibility for attacks that occur within Russia itself, and have even resulted to using a joke to explain the damage inflicted against Russian targets. When asked about the strikes, the Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleskiy Reznikov, repeated a longstanding joke in Ukraine that the damage resulted from carelessness with cigarettes by stating that “Very often Russians smoke in places where it’s forbidden to smoke.”

Despite representatives of the government of Ukraine joking about the strikes, the fact remains that this is yet another significant development showing still another gap in the military strength of Russia. Despite the expectation of Russian air superiority at the start of the war, it did not materialize and seems to extend to the capacity of Russia to fully protect its own territory given that the strikes on Russian airfields earlier this week hundreds of miles into Russia.

Given the damage inflicted, some have already predicted that the Russian chain of command will act to identify the officers involved in not preventing these strikes from being successful, and possibly level sanctions against them. Regardless, it has already been pointed out the success of these strikes have a strong symbolic meaning and perhaps indicate a future in which not even being stationed in Russia itself will be enough to keep Russian forces safe from Ukrainian attacks.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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