Updated Aug 1, 2023, 1:44pm EDT

How the war in Ukraine may be ‘returning’ to Russia

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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The News

A drone struck a high-rise building in Moscow housing government offices and ministries for the second time in two days.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for attacks inside Russia, but in a video address on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that the war “is returning to the territory of Russia,” and that “this is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process.”

His presidential advisor on Tuesday said Russia was now getting used to a “full-fledged war.”

We’ve curated reporting and insights on the drone attacks in Russia and what experts make of Zelenskyy’s comments.

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  • While Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials are not exactly confessing to the drone strikes, their comments are a “level up from Kyiv’s normal approach” of never claiming responsibility for attacks inside Russia, the BBC’s James Waterhouse and James Gregory wrote. The remarks signal Zelenskyy’s confidence to “pile on the pressure” on Russia and also use the drone attacks as an opportunity to “address the Russian population,” many of whom are convinced that Moscow’s invasion is just. If Russians draw a comparison between the attacks at home to what’s happening in Ukraine, it would make it harder for Putin “to justify his invasion,” they wrote.
  • This Ukrainian strategy of sending a message to Russians that “war is near” in the hopes of having a “demoralizing effect” and forcing people to question Putin’s invasion is a familiar one, said Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center in Berlin. But so far, the approach hasn’t yielded any “domestic political reaction” in Russia since the society is “repressed and atomized,” Gabuev said. — The Wall Street Journal
  • A New York Times investigation found that at least three different Ukrainian-made drones — capable of flying from Ukraine to Moscow — were used in attacks inside Russia. Geolocated photographs, local reports, and Telegram posts also show that these attacks have also been increasing and are reaching further into Kremlin territory. From May to July, the number of kamikaze drones flown into Russia was double the total for all of 2022.