The Russian society is becoming further militarised, according to an assessment by the British Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The war against Ukraine, addressed by the Kremlin and Russian propagandists as a “special military operation”, is getting closer to civilians in Russia through rounds of conscriptions, campaigns to join the war and drone attacks.
And, as noted by the MoD, civilians have also been asked to step up to help protect the Kresty air base struck by a daring drone attack in the summer.
A post shared by the MoD on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday read: “In Russia, civilians are increasingly being exposed to the Kremlin’s ‘Special Military Operation’ despite Kremlin assurances back in February 2022.
“Society is becoming more militarised as Russia’s situation worsens. Civilian volunteers are being asked to patrol an air base.”
In a previous intelligence assessment, the MoD shared that up to 800 Russians had signed up in a few days to join the defensive patrols.
On September 10, the MoD suggested Vladimir Putin was experiencing a security personnel issue.
The Defence Ministry said: “The use of volunteers highly likely indicates a shortage of trained security personnel within Russia.”
The attack in late August on the Kresty air base was carried out by drones which reportedly damaged IL-76 CANDID transport aircraft, planes used to fly troops and cargo to the frontline in Ukraine.
As it is located in Pskov, a region close to the Russian border with Estonia that had already been targeted by drones in May, Kresty is unlikely to have been attacked from Ukraine.
Rather, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Major General Kyrylo Budanov claimed the drones were launched “from Russia”.
Speaking with The War Zone in September, he stopped short of saying whether the attack had been carried out by Russian saboteurs or Ukrainian troops inside the country.
He claimed: “We are working from the territory of Russia.”
The Kremlin acknowledged the attack in late August and said military experts were working to find out which routes the unmanned vehicles had used to reach Pskov in order to prevent fresh threats.