A day after Russia accuses Ukraine of launching a drone attack against the Kremlin, explosions have been audible in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.
In the south, attacks were also reported in Odessa and Zaporizhia. The airstrikes occur at the same time as the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is scheduled to speak at The Hague as part of an impromptu trip to the Netherlands. In addition, he will visit the International Criminal Court, which has currently been investigating alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
Russia has accused Ukraine of attempting to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, but Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky denied that his country was responsible for the attack. He stated on Wednesday that neither Putin nor Moscow are attacked by Ukraine. They are fighting on their own land and defending their own cities and villages.
Mr. Zelensky was speaking in Finland, where he made an unannounced visit and conferred with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto and the leaders of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.
Mr. Zelensky is anticipated to encounter Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during his visit to the Netherlands. According to Dutch media, the two are expected to discuss Mr. Zelensky's requests for additional military support, specifically long-range weapons and fighter aircraft.
In January of last year, Mr. Rutte stated that supplying fighter aircraft was not taboo, despite the fact that such a move would be a "huge next step." After the alleged drone attacks, Russia threatened retaliation whenever and wherever it deemed appropriate.
Wednesday, Russian strikes in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson killed 21 people. Officials reported that among the victims were customers of a supermarket and maintenance workers for an energy company. It was in the early hours of Thursday morning, air raid sirens sounded throughout many regions of Ukraine. Kyiv and Odessa have reported hearing loud explosions.
Simultaneously, a drone struck an oil refinery in southern Russia, igniting a portion of it. The latest in a string of explosions, flames, and drone attacks that have occurred in Russia over the past few weeks. Some commentators have argued that the alleged Kremlin drone assault was conducted and staged internally by Russia.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, it is highly unlikely that two drones could have breached multiple layers of air defense, detonated or been shot down directly over the Kremlin. That also in a manner that presented magnificent imagery that was captured by cameras.
Russia likely orchestrated this attack in an effort to bring the conflict home to a Russian local population and create the conditions for a larger mobilization of Russian society, added the Institute for the Study of War.
Yurii Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, believes Russia orchestrated the attack on the Kremlin to show some sort of escalation on Ukraine's part. Other commentators, however, argued that Russia has little interest in appearing "weak" by orchestrating an attack that makes the Kremlin appear vulnerable. It would also raise concerns about Mr Putin's level of security and the effectiveness of Russian air defenses.