The recent attacks by Ukrainian drones on two Tu-95 bombers at the Engels Russian airfield, a fuel truck at the Dyagilevo airbase in Ryazin and an oil storage tank at the Kursk airfield have upped the ante in the war with Russia. Experts say the drones are most probably of Russian design — the Tu-141 reconnaissance drone, code-named “Strizh” — built in Kharkiv and brought back into production beginning in 2014. They are almost 15 metres in length and weigh 6 tonnes. Their range is 1,000 km and they can carry 75 kg of explosives. These drones help bring the war to Southern Russia, but they are relatively ineffective except as a tool of propaganda. The bombardment of power stations, transmission lines and water supplies across Ukraine by Russian forces is something quite different and is a disaster for Ukraine as it awaits the cold months of winter. The conflict today has become a stalemate and a war of attrition. Russian General Dvornikov, known as the ‘butcher of Aleppo’, is now leading the fight against Ukraine and clearly, the plan is to reduce the entire country to rubble and make it an uninhabitable wasteland.
If there is one thing that has been missing in this terrible war, it is the fact that the Russian people haven’t felt the misery of war like the Ukrainians. For Russians, it is Putin’s special military operation that is happening off in another country and has little direct effect on them. Why must the Ukrainians suffer and not the Russian public. If Ukraine could retaliate against Russian border cities like Belgorod and Rostov-on-Don, then perhaps there might be some hope of peace. These are Russian staging areas for supplies and troop movements, and would be a natural target for the Ukrainian bombs. Belgorod has a population of 369,000 people and is the administrative centre of the oblast. It is also a major rail link for troops and supplies coming south from Moscow. There were a few incidents back in April when two Ukrainian Mi-24 fighter jets attacked a fuel depot in the city, but nothing since. Rostov is a port city on the Don River with a population of over one million people, some 32 kilometres north of the Sea of Azov. By bringing the war to Southern Russia, Putin would have to confront increased opposition to the war within his own country.
While the citizens of Belgorod and Rostov benefit from all the modern conveniences and are looking forward to a lovely Christmas with lights and warm houses, the Ukrainians are huddled together around fires in dark basements. The Russians are not paying the price of the war as are the Ukrainians. Until they do, there will never be peace. The Russian invasion of Ukraine will not stop until there are no more bombs left in the Russian arsenal which is unlikely to happen anytime soon. The Russians have an inexhaustible supply of oil and gas, so only the lost lives of Russian soldiers and the protests by their mothers will have any effect on Putin and the Kremlin.
Since the beginning of the conflict, NATO and the US have imposed a ban on Ukraine targeting Russian cities and towns. They have basically clipped the wings of the Ukrainian military and made peace all the more difficult to achieve. Remember the Russian-Afghan war which went on for nine long years while the American Vietnam war went on for two decades before the Russians and the Americans respectively pulled out. The Russian war in Ukraine is similar in many respects. The war was lost before it even began. It was not fought on home soil, Russian or American. The public was mostly unaffected by the war effort until the bodies of soldiers started coming home.
The war in Ukraine has already lasted eight years and could go on for another decade or until a new leader emerges in Russia or the US and their European allies tire of it. The only way to shorten the conflict is to make Russia pay the ultimate price in war. The US and its allies must allow Ukraine to attack the cities of Southern Russia to hasten the end of the war.