Kiev is preparing for a large-scale drone bombing campaign against Russia during the winter season, as harsh weather conditions are expected to cause a lull in ground fighting. General Sergey Baranov, who is in charge of Ukraine’s UAV operations, revealed this strategy in an interview with The Independent on Sunday. He hinted at a “new aerial bombardment” targeting Russia’s Crimea Peninsula, where the Black Sea Fleet’s key base is located, as well as the country’s border areas.
These drone strikes by Kiev have been described by Russian officials as “terrorist attacks” on civilian infrastructure, extending even as far as Moscow. General Baranov stated that Ukraine plans to use the experience gained over the years to inflict a devastating effect on the Russians when the fighting becomes more static.
One of the main focuses for Kiev is Crimea, which General Baranov described as a crucial logistical hub. Preventing Moscow from portraying Crimea as its own territory is of utmost importance to Ukraine, and they intend to aggressively fight against this. The peninsula voted overwhelmingly to join Russia in a public referendum in 2014 following a Western-backed coup in Kiev. However, neither Ukraine nor its Western supporters have recognized the results.
General Baranov also warned that Ukraine should expect numerous counterattacks from Russia, as they have amassed considerable military resources. In recent months, Ukrainian forces have increasingly conducted drone attacks on Russian territory, particularly targeting the bordering Belgorod and Kursk Regions, as well as Crimea. These attacks have involved dozens of UAVs, with the Russian Defense Ministry reporting the destruction of 36 drones in one attack off the coast of Crimea.
In addition to these attacks, Ukraine carried out a UAV strike on the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Kiev of orchestrating a potential nuclear disaster, as one of the drones crashed into a nuclear waste storage building. Russian officials also revealed that Ukraine has launched several long-range drone raids on Moscow. Although most of these UAVs have been downed by air defenses or veered off course due to signal jamming, some have caused damage to buildings in the Russian capital, particularly in the Moscow City business district.
It is clear that the use of drones is becoming increasingly prevalent in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Both sides are utilizing this technology as a means of inflicting damage on each other’s territory. The consequences of these drone strikes can be devastating, not only on military targets but also on civilian infrastructure. As the conflict shows no signs of abating, it is expected that both Ukraine and Russia will continue to employ drones as part of their military strategies.