According to a UK intelligence update issued on Sunday, it is highly likely that the drone attacks on Russian airfields originate from within Russian territory. The report also suggests that Moscow’s establishment of volunteer security patrols indicates a shortage of adequately trained security personnel within Russia.
“In Russia’s Pskov Oblast, close to the Estonian border, the governor has organized volunteer security patrols to interdict further uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against Kresty air base,” the British ministry of defense said in its war intelligence update.
It added: “This initiative follows the reported damage of two IL-76 CANDID transport aircraft on 29 August 2023.”
Moscow had said at the time: “A drone swarm of UAVs was deployed in a massive attack on five regions in central Russia as well as the northwestern Pskov Region. As a result, a fire broke out at the Pskov airport, where several Il-76 military transport aircraft incurred damage,” according to state news agency TASS.
The UK intelligence report stated: “Due to the limited range of quadcopter UAVs, the attacks were on the base almost certainly launched from within [Russia].”
As for the volunteer security patrols, the British report highlighted: “The creation of these volunteer security patrols will likely act as a deterrence and provide a level of defense against quadcopter UAVs being operated from the immediate vicinity of the air base.”
The intelligence update emphasized: “Historically it has proven difficult to destroy UAVs using small-arms fire, so Russian forces will still require air-defense systems, with a surveillance capability and both kinetic and electronic means of interception, to destroy attacking UAVs.”
It said: “The use of volunteers highly likely indicates a shortage of trained security personnel within Russia.”
This comes as drone warfare intensifies between Moscow and Kyiv, with both sides using UAVs to strike the heartland of the other side, usually targeting vital infrastructure.
In August, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that a clear and present danger of potential drone attacks on Moscow exists, and appropriate security measures are being taken. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces increased the intensity of UAV attacks targeting the Russian capital.