As Russia gears to celebrate its biggest and most popular holiday, Victory Day, on May 9, the ceremonies this year have been shadowed by a threat of a potential Ukrainian drone attack, as promised by a Ukrainian businessman looking forward to a large flock of drones attacking the Victory Day parade.
The traditional Victory Day parade will advance at Moscow’s Red Square, albeit in the presence of ramped-up security. Incidentally, the parade venue lies close to the building in the Kremlin that came under a drone attack, which has since been attributed to Ukraine.
As a precautionary measure, Moscow has banned the use of drones.
On its part, Ukraine has categorically denied its involvement in the alleged Kremlin drone attack. However, Russia’s concern about a potential Ukrainian strike is not without reason.
A Ukrainian businessman and drone developer has been calling for and planning a massive strike against Moscow by employing a swarm of drones.
At the start of April, Volodymyr Yatsenko, co-founder of Monobank and creator of the Dovbush drone, announced a self-hosted competition for Ukrainian UAV producers. Announcing the competition on Facebook, he said that the team whose drone can land on Red Square in Moscow on May 9 would receive US$540,000 from him.
He set up a charity bank in the Monobank for this purpose, where he placed the entire announced prize and allowed anyone who wished to donate. During this period, an additional US$200,000 were reportedly collected.
Monobank co-founder Volodymyr Yatsenko promised a reward of 20 million hryvnias ($544.000) to those who land a drone with a Ukrainian patriotic inscription on Red Square in Moscow on May 9. pic.twitter.com/56LvzKUOCw
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 7, 2023
According to Forces, a Ukrainian military news blog, Yatsenko is the creator of the Dovbush drone, which will also attempt the flight to the Russian capital. To be recognized when they arrive in Moscow, Yatsenko advised participating drone developers to write Ukrainian slogans, such as “Glory to Ukraine,” on the wings of their machines.
Russia has ramped up its air defense in and around Moscow to avert a Ukrainian drone attack during the parade. A report in a local Ukrainian media outlet suggested that the military and government administration had prepared a step-by-step response plan in case a hostile drone made it to Moscow.
The banker also highlighted that authorities in Russia were purportedly jamming navigation services as an enhanced security measure. However, with the Russian Victory Day parade inching closer, Volodymyr Yatsenko now said that he was sure that many Ukrainian devices would be sufficient to bypass the Russian air defense system on May 9.
“Everybody’s busy aboard the ship of fools. In Moscow, the signal of all global positioning systems has been disrupted. Moscow taxi drivers are desperate, for most of them hardly know their way around the city since they are “aliens.” Somebody needs to let these idiots know that they have four airports with navigation systems enabled – there’s a way for Ukrainian drones to stay the course in the hostile sky,” said Yatsenko.
The Ukrainian government has neither backed the competition hosted by Yatsenko nor verified his claims regarding Russian air defenses and their prowess to intercept and thwart a swarm drone attack, especially about Yatsenko’s big Victory Day plan.
Moscow does not deviate from its tradition, so the military parade was not canceled, despite speculations and alarms triggered by the Kremlin attack. “And this means that the planned Ukrainian action on the landing of UAVs on Red Square will also take place,” Yatsenko told a Ukrainian media portal Focus.
Meanwhile, following the Kremlin drone attack for which Russia vowed retaliation, a massive barrage of drones had been unleashed on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. According to military watchers, this is the biggest attack on Kyiv this year and resembles drone-for-drone revenge.
Massive Russian Drone Attack On Kyiv
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced on Facebook that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) had shot down and destroyed all 35 Shahed drones the Russians deployed to attack Ukraine on the intervening night of May 7 and 8. Ukraine’s Air Force also confirmed the information in a Telegram post.
“On the night of May 7–8, enemy forces once again attacked Ukraine, this time deploying Iranian-made Shahed attack drones. 35 out of 35 drones were destroyed by our Defense Forces.”
According to the Air Force, all 35 drones targeted Kyiv Oblast from the North, namely the Seshcha airport in Bryansk Oblast, Russia. The 35 Shahed-136/131 drones were all destroyed by air defense personnel from the Tsentr (Center) Command and units of Ukraine’s Defense Forces, Ukrainska Pravda reported.
Last night, 35 of 35 russian drones were shot down!
30 of them targeted Kyiv.
On this Day of Remembrance &Victory over Nazism in WWII, today’s Nazis – ruscists – are destroying peaceful cities. The empire of which they dream will fade into obscurity. Just like its predecessors. pic.twitter.com/easqvc8W17
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) May 8, 2023
According to the Air Force, Russian forces used long-range Tu-22M3 bombers to target Odesa Oblast, launching eight missiles from a location close to Cape Tarkhankut in Russian-occupied Crimea. A few of the missiles missed the objectives.
According to Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv, at least five people were hurt due to the airstrikes on the city, while Russian missiles set a food-filled warehouse in Odesa on fire.
Other parts of Ukraine also reported blasts ahead of the Russian ‘Victory Day’ parade, which Ukraine believes will be a stage to mobilize domestic public opinion in favor of the invasion “at a time when the Russian military operation is losing steam.”