This is according to the German newspaper Bild, which cited unnamed sources stating that the attack took place on Sunday, April 23.
Ukrainian forces on Sunday reportedly launched a drone from inside the country with the aim of reaching the Rudnevo Industrial Park in the south of Moscow. Putin was scheduled to visit the industrial park that day and hold a meeting on the development of unmanned aircraft systems there. (Related: Autonomous KILLER BOTS to dominate battlefields soon as war in Ukraine leads to significant advances in drone technology.)
The suicide drone was intercepted before it could reach the industrial park, crashing just several miles from the site.
Neither the governments of Ukraine nor Russia have admitted that the alleged assassination attempt took place. A spokesman for the Kremlin called Bild’s report “a tabloid hoax.”
Russian state-owned news outlet TASS confirmed that Putin visited the Rudnevo Industrial Park but did not mention any kind of incident involving a suicide drone.
But a kamikaze drone laden with 17 kilograms (37 pounds) of explosives was confirmed to have fallen near the Bogorodsky district, east of Moscow, about 12 miles east of the Rudnevo Industrial Park. The head of the Bogorodsky city district, Igor Sukhin, also confirmed the crash and said in a statement that he had to cancel a parade for security reasons because of it.
Furthermore, multiple Ukrainian individuals who spoke with Bild confirmed the incident through their own sources, including Ukrainian activist Yuriy Romanenko and journalist Sergej Sumlenny.
“Our intelligence officers received information about Putin’s trip to the industrial park in Rudnevo,” claimed Romanenko. “Accordingly, our guys launched a kamikaze drone that flew through all the air defenses of the Russian Federation and fell not far from the industrial park.”
“It is clear that a precision strike against the Russian head of state with a kamikaze drone is an almost impossible action,” said Sumlenny. “But the very fact that such a drone would reach a place where Putin plans to [visit] is a slap in the face for the Russian dictator.”
The drone allegedly used in the assassination attempt is a UJ-22 drone. Developed by Ukrainian drone maker Ukrjet, the UJ-22 is primarily a reconnaissance and surveillance drone but it also has combat capabilities.
Typically, the UJ-22 carries up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) worth of munitions, such as unguided bombs, mines or other weaponry.
While primarily a recon and surveillance drone, the UJ-22 has proven to be effective at attacking stationary targets as it can be sent to predefined coordinates and then ordered to release its payload. This feature allows for precision targeting and maximum impact on the drone’s intended target.
The UJ-22 also has a range of up to 800 kilometers (497 miles), making the possibility of the drone being launched from Ukraine and reaching Moscow very likely, especially if the drone was launched from northern Ukraine – including possibly Kyiv – and never intended to return.
Ukraine has, in recent weeks, been pouring relatively inexpensive drones like the UJ-22 through the border and into Russia to strike at not just military targets but civilian ones as well.
Howard Altman, writing for The Drive, warned that these drones – typically laden with explosives – are getting closer and closer to the Kremlin, but also noted that most of the aerial drone incursions are still only occurring just miles from the Ukrainian border.
Some of the most recent Ukrainian drone incursions occurred in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, just over the border and one of the most frequently targeted by Ukrainian attacks.
Russian media outlet Baza confirmed that on Monday, April 24, at least four Ukrainian drones flew into the region.
Two of the drones were prevented from reaching their targets. One of those drones exploded as it fell. The other two drones, unfortunately, were able to drop their payloads. One drone dropped bombs onto a communications tower, and another suicide dive-bombed into a diesel transformer, injuring one person.
Watch this clip of a Russian ZALA Lancet kamikaze drone destroying vital Ukrainian military equipment.
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