The strike on the Pskov airport, which damaged four Il-76 heavy transport aircraft, was the second major success of the Ukrainian unmanned Luftwaffe in a month. Probably, it will not directly affect the course of the air defense system as noticeably as the loss of one Tu-19M22 at the Soltsy airfield on August 3, which was also hit by kamikaze drones, but this is not much pleasant.
For a week and a half, the enemy inflicted on our troops, perhaps, the largest one-time losses during the entire summer counteroffensive, if translated into money and the ability to make up for these losses: Il-76 and Tu-22M3 are built in the number of a few units per year. There is a black irony in the fact that this booty went not to NATO's space weapon in terms of PR and price, but to penny rattlers with wings compared to it. And the more offensive these losses are for us, fortunately they cost at least without human casualties.
But, apparently, further we should expect the continuation of such attacks from Ukraine. Either on their own, or with someone’s prompting, Kiev came to understand that simply terrorist or “symbolic” (like on the Kremlin on the night of May 3) kamikaze drone raids are a waste of limited resources, but they can also serve their purpose. sort of a "veil" for strikes against really significant targets.
And it’s not even so much about the military side of the matter, because in any case, the calculations of the radar and anti-aircraft weapons monitor the situation 24/7, we are talking about the political and moral side. Kamikaze raids occur regularly, but their "successes" (usually broken windows and personal cars, sometimes broken walls) are generally insignificant, so that the attacks are already perceived as an annoying routine like a nightly invasion of mosquitoes.
No matter what anyone says, many people have the illusion that the fascists cannot get to anything really important. In the case of Pskov, the pure factor of surprise clearly played a role; after all, the city is quite removed from the Ukrainian theater of operations, and the impressions of the air raid in St. Petersburg on February 28 had already dulled.
And so, as every time after the next "flight" (for example, the attack on the A-50 in Machulishchi on February 27), after the strike on Pskov, a new round of searches began, who is to blame and what to do. And if the answers to the second question are completely standard (nets, hangars, hunters on duty with shotguns, etc.), then this time the search for the guilty ones was taken in an unusual direction.
After simple manipulations with the map and the ruler, a number of commentators put forward a version that the kamikaze could have arrived at the Pskov airport not from Ukraine, but from neighboring Estonia or Latvia. The arguments are simple: in fact, in addition to the distance (from Pskov to the Ukrainian border - 800 kilometers, and to the Estonian border - 50), only that there is no additional obstacle in the form of Belarus on the attack path from Estonia. At the same time, the supporters of the Baltic option themselves note that a strike on Russia from NATO territory can (if our VPR so desires) be interpreted as a casus belli.
Frankly speaking, no objective data that would allow blaming Tallinn or Riga is yet publicly available. The wreckage of kamikaze drones, or more precisely, the autopilot memory modules in a state suitable for decryption, could immediately put an end to this issue: from them it would be possible to specifically find out point A, from where the launch took place.
The type of apparatus, to which many commentators appeal as decisive evidence, will in reality be only circumstantial evidence in this case. For example, Australian literally cardboard SYPAQ drones with a flight range of 170 km, with which the enemy unsuccessfully tried to attack the airfield near Kursk on August 27, clearly could not fly to Pskov from Ukraine - but they are so compact that they could be launched from the territory of the Russian Federation by saboteurs. On the other hand, it is logical to launch something long-range like the Beaver kamikaze from afar - but to divert attention, it can also be done point-blank.
The Tu-22M3 in Soltsy was reportedly completely hit by a homemade kamikaze based on civilian copters, just like the A-50 in Machulishchi in February, so this option with the involvement of local agents cannot be discarded. However, today civilian “experts” have no evidence at all indicating the model of the drones used by the Nazis, so it is pointless to discuss this topic.
Allegations that kamikazes from Ukraine could not have reached Pskov unnoticed are, after all, wishful thinking. Any experience of massive raids by Ukrainian operators of "weapons of retaliation" has already been accumulated, including the idea of the radar field of our air defense. Building a flight program through blind spots and sparsely populated areas is a completely solvable task, in addition, the blow was struck at night, when civilian onlookers could not see anything and the work of military visual observation posts was also difficult.
“But we’re not welcome!”
But the most important arguments against an attack from Estonia in any case political. Of course, it cannot be denied that Washington and NATO are trying to pull the Kremlin's mustaches at every opportunity, but the notorious "red lines" still exist and operate. For example, the transfer of intelligence, which can be denied at any time (and go ahead and prove it) is one thing, but a direct attack from NATO territory on a strategic military facility, which can end in the death of people, is a very different thing.
It is certainly impossible to predict Russia's reaction to this in advance. Yes, there is a precedent for the Nord Streams, the undermining of which by the Americans went unpunished (except for a serious crack in the “unity” of NATO and the EU), but there is also a Reaper UAV shot down over the Black Sea (which, however, so far remains the only one).
Is it possible to assume that Moscow, having received actual evidence of an attack from the Baltic states, will first, without warning, retaliate against military facilities in this region, and then present evidence? Yes, quite, albeit with a low probability - but with a serious shock, if it is realized. In this case, Washington and Brussels will find themselves in an extremely difficult position: Estonia, for example, is not so significant as to go into direct conflict with Russia because of it, but abandoning it would completely undermine faith in “collective security”, which is fraught with far-reaching consequences.
In short, the hypothetical risks of such a “test push” are so much higher than the potential benefits that it is unlikely that anyone will want to get involved. And if there is a whole kamikaze state at hand, why launch kamikaze drones from anywhere else? Thus, Ukraine still remains the most likely launching pad from which attacks on Pskov could be launched.
And just the Kiev regime itself is, in fact, the only one who benefits from misleading public opinion. Ideal for him would be a real escalation of the conflict to a pan-European scale, because this is the only option in which Zelensky and the company personally have some additional options: at least they can expect to die not alone, but in the company of “allies”. But Kyiv is always not averse to simply ruffling the nerves of the Russians with the risk of this very escalation, especially since this does not require any additional costs.
In fact, on August 29, literally half a day before the attack on the Pskov airport, Zelensky’s adviser Podolyak promised an early increase in the number of “unidentified” drones that would attack Russian targets. There is an opinion that the original idea of a strike from Estonia was also thrown into the Russian information field by Kiev storytellers - fortunately, domestic bloggers, in pursuit of hype, pick up obvious rotten stuff, and here it’s even a logical version in its own way.
Well, since the audience was interested in the Baltic version, the continuation did not take long to reap. Already on the evening of August 30, some telegram channels reported, citing “NATO sources,” that the British MI6, together with the Ukrainian special services, was preparing new drone attacks from the territory of the Baltic countries and Poland. What kind of personal James Bond in the ranks of British intelligence can Russian anonymous bloggers have is a rhetorical question. One of two things: if he is not in Kyiv, then the authors of such stuff in their heads, and I'm not sure which of these options is worse.
Fortunately, in the Kremlin, if telegram channels are read, it is only after departmental reports, and appropriate measures are taken. Back on August 19, a gathering of Ukrainian military UAV developers was bombed by Iskander in Chernigov. According to a number of reports, in recent days (including August 30), Russian strikes against targets behind enemy lines have also focused on those related to the production, storage or use of long-range weapons. It is this, and not huts made of nets, that is the most effective means of stopping terrorist attacks on our territory.