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21 Russian cities cancel V-Day parades as tit-for-tat drone war heats up

Russia has witnessed several drone attacks against its territory and infrastructure in the last 24 hoursafter the pair of drones sent against Kremlin buildings in the heart of Moscow, which was denounced as an assassination attempt on Putin.

Separate drone strikes overnight damaged oil refineries in the southern Rostov and Krasnodar provinces. The Krasnodar attack involved four drones and caused a large fire, while the Rostov attack caused limited damage. Russia’s RT reports several recent incidents, detailing: “Earlier this week, there was a drone incident at another oil facility in the same region, and last week, an oil terminal was hit in the city of Sevastopol in Crimea.”

AFP via Getty Images

“Kiev claimed responsibility for the latter, stating that the attack was intended to disrupt Russian military logistics before the long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive”.

This flurry of attacks from Ukraine, possibly with the help of Western intelligence (as Moscow now alleges), has put the Russian population on edge just before the annual military parades planned to commemorate the victory Soviet Union in World War II. The events of last year, closer to the start of the war, were also toned down and some of them were dismissed altogether.

The “Victory Day” holiday on May 9 usually includes large military parades in the centers of dozens of cities, but intensified drone attacks have unnerved authorities:

At least 21 Russian cities have suspended their annual military parades marking Soviet victory in World War II next week, independent media outlet Vyorstka reported on Thursday, as the country has alleged a flurry of drone strikes on its territory ahead of a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

… Cities near Russia’s border with Ukraine, which have faced repeated bombings and drone strikes in the 14 months since Moscow launched its offensive on Kiev, they will not hold the Victory Day parades.

Moscow authorities are already taking extreme precautions, which have included closing Red Square to the public for two weeks before the festivities.

Locations of fuel depots/oil refineries inside Russia in the last week:

🟢Sebastopol – April 29
🟡Volna – 03 May
🔵Il’skii – May 4
⚪Novoshakhtinsk – May 4 (No pictures, just claim)
🔴Stavropol – 04 May pic.twitter.com/yyny9uYgUY

— Kyle Glen (@KyleJGlen) May 4, 2023

Some of Ukraine’s westernmost regions had already canceled public events weeks ago, including the hard-hit Belgorod and Kursk regions. Four civilians were recently killed in Belgorod as a result of Ukrainian drone and missile attacks. It has suffered sporadic cross-border incidents throughout the conflict, given its proximity to the border.

No-fly zones have also been imposed, even for small drones, in major cities, in particular Moscow and Saint Petersburg. This as the Ukrainians have become more brazen, even as the much-heralded spring counter-offensive has stalled, with the main reason given by mud and weather factors.

Ukraine braces for Russian retaliatory strikes…

Drones over downtown Kyiv, air defense at work. #StandwithUkraine pic.twitter.com/Wr2XliMelv

— Arad Benkö (@AradBenkoe) May 4, 2023

Later Thursday afternoon (local time), Heavy drone activity was reported in Kyiv. Russia appears to have launched a retaliatory response to Wednesday’s drone attack on the Kremlin.

Stunning video has emerged of a successful interception for air defenses over the capital of Ukraine:

⚡️#BREAKING Video shows air defense shooting down a drone in Kiev pic.twitter.com/BZeoJEd69H

— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 4, 2023

Air raid sirens reportedly sounded in the capital as the Ukrainian population braced for more possible Russian retaliatory strikes, which have already increased in previous days amid reports that Kiev may finally be preparing its major counter-offensive .

Meanwhile on the ground in Turkey…

Battle over the Ukrainian flag during the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Parliamentary Assembly in Turkeypic.twitter.com/GzfaI6QQcB

— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) May 4, 2023

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