MOSCOW – Russia’s ex-president Dmitry Medvedev called for the “physical elimination” of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, after Moscow accused Kiev of a drone attack on the Kremlin.
“After today’s terrorist attack, there are no options other than the physical elimination of Zelensky and his cabal,” Medvedev, who has become more hawkish since Moscow’s Ukraine offensive, stated.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the Russian Duma speaker and a Putin loyalist, also spoke out, asking for a harsh retaliation against Ukraine.
“We will demand the use of weapons capable of stopping and destroying the Kyiv terrorist regime,” stated Volodin.
Russia had already accused Ukraine of attempting to assassinate President Vladimir Putin with a drone attack on the Kremlin citadel in central Moscow, and had warned retaliation.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the notion, saying his country will soon launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces on its own turf.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also questioned the report’s authenticity.
“I’ve heard the news. “I cannot validate them; we simply don’t know,” Blinken said at a Washington event. “I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt.”
A view of Moscow’s Red Square, which will be blocked for Victory Parade preparations on May 3, 2023, with the Spasskaya Tower in the center. (AP)
AFP witnessed some people climbing external stairs onto the domed roof of the Kremlin Senate, which houses the presidential administration, on Moscow’s renowned Red Square.
Despite unverified images circulating on social media purporting to show an explosion from a possible drone, the roof appeared to be unharmed.
People were freely roaming around the neighborhood, and there was no increased police presence.
Banners and chairs have already been set up in preparation for the May 9 march, which Moscow has promised will take place.
However, on the streets of Moscow, people were shaken and confused.
“I feel something between shock and suspicion,” said Viktor, a 21-year-old student.
“It’s not clear whether this is a genuine military operation or just a ruse for unknown reasons.”
On May 3, 2023, a couple walks near the Red Square and Moscow Kremlin, which have been decorated for the Victory Day military parade, which will take place on May 9. Others said this type of major incident in Russia was only a matter of time, following months of drone attacks and increased apparent sabotage in recent days.
Two trains have been derailed by explosions in the previous five days, there have been oil storage fires near and in Crimea, and power lines have been blown up near Saint Petersburg.
“I was waiting for something like this to happen,” Vera Ilyinichna, 71, remarked.
The retiree expressed relief that the drone did not collide with a residential building.
“The Kremlin is better protected,” she asserted.
“But it’s the residential buildings, where old people and children live and where we work, that concern me the most.”