Four unidentified drones found near Moscow in 48 hours. What does it mean for the Kremlin?
Traditionally, the Ukrainian side does not take responsibility for events on Russian territory (Photo:NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA)
Three crashed UAVs have been reported across Moscow Oblast following another explosive drone discovery on April 23 near the town of Noginsk, east of Moscow, security officials told the state-run TASS news agency.
"The day before, a crashed drone with a camera and microphone and without identification marks was found near the Ugolyok gardening community in the Bogorodsk city district," the outlet reported on April 25.
“It was found about 4 kilometers from the site of the crash of the Ukrainian airplane-like explosive drone.”
The first UAV was discovered on April 23 by a local. A photo of the overturned aircraft was posted on social media, reporting that it had crashed in a forest near Noginsk.
According to the Baza Telegram news channel, it turned out to be a Ukrainian UJ-22 Airborne drone packed with 17 kilograms of explosives. The information was confirmed by TASS sources.
Soon after, the agency reported the discovery of another UAV near the Tagansky Vostochny gardening community – a quadcopter, which, according to law enforcement, could have been used to adjust the flight path of an attack drone.
Another UAV with two parachutes was found in the Pavlovo-Posad city district, also east of Moscow.
"Now all the drones are being sent for examination, and it is being established who they belonged to and for what purpose they were launched," said a Russian security forces representative.
The BBC's Ilya Abishev talks about the facts and versions that are unpleasant for the Russian authorities:
Reports of another drone crash in Moscow Oblast usually come from Russian media outlets affiliated with law enforcement agencies. The authorities comment on such information reluctantly or not at all.
The UJ-22 Airborne UAV, which is in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces and which, according to media reports, was packed with 17 kg of plastic explosives, crashed because it ran out of fuel, Baza reported. The reasons for the fall of the other drones are not yet known.
It is worth noting that in all cases, the drones were found by random people, such as vacationists and local residents. It is logical to assume that if the drone had been downed by air defense or electronic warfare forces, it would have quickly been in the hands of the military.
As usual, Kyiv does not take responsibility for events on Russian territory.
If the UAVs found in Moscow Oblast are proven to belong to Ukraine, the Russian authorities will have to admit to unpleasant facts.
Above all that a combat drone launched from Ukraine can reach Moscow by overcoming all air defense systems. The UJ-22’s range makes it possible.
What if it turns out that the other drones were launched not from Ukraine but from somewhere nearby (in the case of the quadcopter, there is no doubt about it, as it is a relatively short-range device), and was also meant for combat?
That would mean that the Ukrainian underground or sabotage and reconnaissance groups are operating under the Kremlin's nose.
The reaction of Moscow, which is preparing to hold another pompous parade on May 9 on Red Square, to these realities is predictable. Perhaps that is why it makes more sense for the Russian military and intelligence services not to rush to make statements in the current situation.
After all, there are plenty of people in Russia who like to play around with a Chinese quadcopter.
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