Russo-Ukrainian War: Moscow’s barrage of missile strikes on cities across Ukraine has prompted celebratory comments from Russian officials and pro-Kremlin pundits, who in recent weeks have actively criticized the Russian military for a series of embarrassing battlefield setbacks.
Russian nationalist commentators and state media war correspondents hailed Monday’s attack as a fitting and long-awaited response to Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in the northeast and south and a weekend attack on a key bridge between Russia and Russia. and Crimea, the prized Black Sea peninsula Russia annexed in 2014.
However, many argued that Moscow should maintain the intensity of Monday’s missile strikes to win the war now. Some analysts have suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin is becoming a hostage to his own allies’ views on how the campaign in Ukraine should play out.
“Putin’s initiative is weakening and becoming more dependent on the circumstances and those who are forging ‘victory’ (in Ukraine) for him,” Tatyana Stanovaya, founder of the independent R.Politik think tank, wrote in an online comment on Monday.
“The fear of defeat is so strong, especially for those who are now fully immersed in this military adventure, that Putin’s hesitation, with its logic of ‘we haven’t started anything yet’ and ‘measured tactics have paid off has become a problem.” ”, said the analyst.
Putin supporters call for a drastic step
Putin’s supporters have been calling for drastic measures on Ukraine’s battlefield for weeks. These calls intensified over the weekend, shortly after an explosion on the Kerch bridge, which links Crimea to Russia, shocked the world. The longest bridge in Europe is a prominent symbol of Russian military might and was opened by Putin himself in 2018.
“Y?” Margarita Simonyan, director of state television RT, wondered on social media about Moscow’s response to the attack on the bridge. “This is one of those cases where the country needs to show that we can strike back,” wrote Alexander Kots, a war correspondent for Russia’s popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“It’s time to fight! fiercely, even cruelly. “Without looking back at Western censorship,” Sergei Mironov, a senior Russian lawmaker who heads the state-backed party A Just Russia, tweeted on Saturday. “There will be no bigger sanctions.” They will not say worse words. We have to do our thing. We started it, we must go to the end. There is no turning back. “Now is the time to respond!”
Moscow launches dozens of missiles
As a response, on Monday morning, Moscow fired dozens of missiles at Ukrainian cities at the same time. This killed and hurt dozens of people and caused damage to Ukraine’s critical infrastructure that had never been seen before. The strikes, which hit 15 Ukrainian cities, most of them regional capitals, brought down power lines, damaged railway stations, and highways, and left towns without water supplies.
For the first time in months, Russian missiles exploded in the heart of Kyiv, in dangerous proximity to government buildings.
Putin said on Monday that the attacks were in retaliation for what he called “terrorist” actions by Kyiv against the Kerch Bridge, and promised a “tough” and “proportionate” response should Ukraine carry out further attacks that threaten Russia’s security.
“No one should have any doubts about it,” he said.
“Here comes the answer,” RT’s Simonyan tweeted on Monday after the attacks. “The Crimean Bridge was that very red line from the beginning.” The strongman leader of Chechnya, a Russian region in the North Caucasus, Ramzan Kadyrov, said he is now “100% happy” with how the Kremlin’s “special military operation” is going. He was one of the most ardent advocates of “more drastic measures” in Ukraine, even calling for the use of low-yield nuclear weapons.
Russian attack on Ukrainian soil called “good news”
Moscow-installed Crimean Governor Sergei Aksyonov described the strikes as “good news”.
However, cheers from Kremlin supporters came with demands that Putin and the Russian military keep up the pace and intensity of attacks and damage inflicted on Ukraine’s infrastructure. Aksyonov, in his statement, emphasized that “if such actions to destroy the enemy’s infrastructure had been taken every day, we would have finished everything in May and the Kyiv regime would have been defeated.”
“I hope that now the pace of the operation will not slow down,” Aksyonov wrote.
RT’s main anchor Anton Krasovsky, after posting a video of himself dancing on a balcony in a Z cap, said in another Telegram post that the damage to Ukraine’s power lines “wasn’t enough! It was not enough!”
Another state television journalist, Andrei Medvedev, called Monday’s attacks “a logical step, which has not only been demanded by society for a long time: the military situation demanded a different approach to hostilities.”
“And so it happened. But does it change much?” Medvedev, who works for Russia’s state television group VGTRK and holds a post at the Moscow City Council, wrote on Telegram.
“If strikes on critical infrastructure become regular, if strikes on railways, bridges, and power plants become part of our tactics, then yes, it changes (the situation). But for now, according to (official) statements, no decision has been made to plunge Ukraine into medieval times,” Medvedev wrote. Political analyst Stanovaya noted in a post-Monday Telegram that “powerful pressure” has been brought to bear on Putin “to move to aggressive actions, massive bombings” and that prompted him to act.
“To this day, it can be said that Putin was persuaded to take a more aggressive line. And it corresponds to your understanding of the situation. But it is a slippery slope, there is no going back,” Stanovaya wrote.