Ukrainian Drones Now Attacking Russian Facilities In Non-Russian Regions – OpEd


Ukrainian drones have now hit targets in a dozen federal subjects of the Russian Federation. Most of these are predominantly ethnic Russian oblasts and krays but in at least two cases, Tatarstan and North Ossetia, this list includes non-Russian republics as well ( and

That should not come as any surprise given that the Russian Federation’s military industries and bases are located in non-Russian as well as predominantly Russian regions and thus those located in non-Russian regions are entirely legitimate targets for the Ukrainian military in response to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine.

But for some, such attacks may seem to be in conflict with Kyiv’s efforts to reach out to the non-Russians within the Russian Federation as potential allies of Ukraine in the struggle against Russian imperialism. Paradoxically, however, these drone attacks may be helping that effort.

That is because these attacks are against facilities hundreds of kilometers from the Ukrainian-Russian border and they highlight the reality that Moscow, all its claims to the contrary, is not able to defend these republics despite all the tax money it takes from non-Russian as well as Russian regions.

Instead of making the non-Russians more loyal to Moscow, it may be having just the opposite effect. When Ukrainian drones hit military targets in Tatarstan earlier this year, for example, Rustam Minnikhanov, the republic head, said these attacks showed “no one will defend us besides ourselves” ( and

To the extent that Ukrainian attacks on Russian facilities in the non-Russian republics spread, such attitudes are likely to spread as well. And that in turn will lead to outcomes precisely the opposite of the ones that the Kremlin has long believed it can count on in the event of an attack.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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