The Kremlin has sought to play down a massive drone attack on the capital, reassuring Muscovites that there’s “no threat” and Russian air defenses “worked as they were meant to.” But many were quick to blame Russia’s own Defense Ministry for letting the war come to the capital.
“You stinking wretches, what are you doing? You’re bastards! Get your asses out of the offices you've been put in to defend this country. You are the Defense Ministry. You didn’t do a damn thing to advance. Why the fuck are you allowing these drones to fly to Moscow?” bellowed Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin in an expletive-laced rant.
“As a citizen, I am deeply indignant that these scum are sitting quietly and wearing out their seats with their fat asses smeared with expensive creams,” the mercenary boss said.
While Prigozhin has gained a reputation for his frequent attacks on Defense Ministry officials, he wasn’t the only one laying into the military over the drones. Attacks on the capital city were not supposed to be possible even after President Putin ordered his troops to invade neighboring Ukraine.
Residents of the Moscow region flooded the governor’s official social media page with infuriated messages, the independent outlet Mozhem Obyasnit reported.
“How are they reaching Moscow?! [Defense Ministry], are you even going to work? Where is our defense of the capital?” one pissed off resident wrote.
Others panicked about a lack of bomb shelters.
“Where are the bomb shelters in Lyubertsy? There isn’t a single one. Our basement is filled with garbage,” a resident named Irina complained.
“At this rate, Russia will turn into Syria. It’s unsettling,” another local was quoted telling the outlet.
Prosecutors in the Moscow region, meanwhile, tried to control the online anger by warning people they could be jailed if they share unofficial information on the drone attack, claiming several “fakes” had already been uncovered on social media.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, boasted that there were “no victims” in the attack and shrugged it off as a failed attempt by the “Kyiv regime” to get revenge for Russian strikes.
At least one person was killed in Kyiv early Tuesday in an overnight Russian drone attack.
Putin himself claimed the drone strikes were a response to Russia striking Ukrainian military intelligence headquarters “two to three days ago.” No such strike was announced previously by the Defense Ministry.
Sources close to the presidential administration quoted by Meduza said the drone attack on Moscow was “predictable” after drones reached the Kremlin earlier this month.
The effect, one of them said, is “more psychological” than anything else.
“A great deal will depend on the reaction of top leadership—how to present it and so on,” the source said.
Several lawmakers interviewed by Verstka also offered a rather nonchalant reaction to the attack.
“I don’t see any changes or problems,” one unnamed lawmaker was quoted as saying.
Others, however, suggested it was time to “finally bomb Washington,” according to Verstka.
While Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that only eight drones had been involved in the attack, local reports put the number much higher, with as many as 25 drones unleashed on the capital. Many of them appeared to be targeting the homes of Russia’s elite, with one drone reportedly landing less than 2 miles from Putin’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo.
At least one lawmaker has suggested the attack might drastically escalate the war.
“Moscow was subjected to a drone attack by the Ukrainian terrorist government,” Russian lawmaker Oleg Nilov told reporters, noting that “tactical nuclear weapons will not sit covered for long.”