Russia should be on alert for more Ukrainian strikes into Russian territory following recent attacks at Russia’s Engels air base and another base in the Ryazan region within Russia, State Duma deputy Andrei Gurulev warned over the weekend.
“There is no need to be surprised, we must be ready for anything—sooner or later they will supply them with everything—guns of any range, tanks, aircraft, we must calculate and prepare for this,” Gurulev said on Telegram.
“We see that they are trying to hit our bases, the accumulation of troops, the accumulation of material resources,” Gurulev said, referencing the attacks and warning more strikes on Russian resources may be looming.
While Ukraine has previously targeted Russian entities in Crimea, the peninsula Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, the attacks last week within Russian territory revealed that Ukraine’s long-range drones might be more capable than was previously known—and that Ukrainian authorities may be more interested in fighting back on Russian soil.
Initially, Russian authorities indicated that Russian air defenses intercepted the attacks, but Gurulev’s admission that Russia should be on the lookout for more Ukrainian attacks could signal that the explosions at Russian air bases have Moscow on edge.
Ukraine hasn’t explicitly claimed responsibility for the recent spate of attacks in Russia, although an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has suggested that the attacks may have been payback.
“The Earth is round—discovery made by Galileo,” the adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said last week. “If something is launched into other countries' airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point.”
The attacks into Russian territory could mark a new phase of the war, in which Russia finds itself increasingly on the back foot. Already in Ukraine, after a series of crushing defeats on the battlefield, Russian military units are dug in on defense in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions as winter approaches, Ukrainian authorities say. Ukrainian forces could squeeze around the Russians there, cut off their supplies, and let them suffer through the winter rather than wage any large-scale counteroffensives.
But although the attacks in Russia proper exposed gaps in Russia’s defenses, Gurulev sought to reassure that Russia is prepared to continue unleashing attacks on Ukraine.
“On the territory of Ukraine, of course, we would like more damage,” Gurulev said. “We still have a large number of critical facilities that we would like to disable.”
In just the last 24 hours, Russian troops have been shelling the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Kherson, according to regional military administrations. Denys Shmyhal, the prime minister of Ukraine, announced this week on Facebook that 40 percent of high-voltage grid facilities in Ukraine are damaged. All thermal and hydroelectric power stations in the country have been impacted by Russian attacks, Shmyhal added.
The current cadence of attacks leaves Ukraine no choice but to have “significant” energy cuts this winter, he said.
Gurulev also sought to reassure that the war, which is now in its tenth month, was working out in Russia’s favor. “Today the situation at the front is stabilized,” Gurulev said.
And while Russia is on alert for more attacks within Russia, Ukrainian intelligence is still on the lookout for Russian attacks into Ukrainian territory.
“According to our calculations, they have missiles for another three to five waves of attacks,” Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy intelligence chief, told The New York Times. “This is if there are 80 to 90 rockets in one wave.”