Yesterday’s drone attack on the Kremlin (and other installations) mark the end of the Zelenski regime. While Russia had so far refrained from regime change in Kiev it will now have to pursue it.
The former prime minister of Israel Naftali Bennet had reported that president Putin had promised him not to hit Zelenski:
“I knew Zelensky was under threat, in a bunker… I said to [Putin], ‘Do you intend to kill Zelensky?’ He said, ‘I won’t kill Zelensky,’” Bennett recalled in the interview, which was published on his own YouTube channel.
Bennett said he called the Ukrainian president immediately after the three-hour encounter with Putin, and told him, “I’ve just come out of a meeting — [Putin] is not going to kill you.
“[Zelensky] asked me, ‘Are you sure?’ I said 100 percent. [Putin’s] not going to kill you.”
Bennett recalled: “Two hours later, Zelensky went to his office, and did a selfie in the office, [in which the Ukrainian president said,] ‘I’m not afraid.’”
Well, now he has very good reason to again be afraid, very afraid. As former ambassador MK Bhadrakumar writes:
Make no mistake, this is a tipping point; the clumsy attempt on Putin’s life jolts the kaleidoscope beyond recognition. The only comforting thought is that the Kremlin leadership is not going to be driven by emotion. The considered Kremlin reaction is available from the remarks by the Russian Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov:
“How would Americans react if a drone hit the White House, the Capitol or the Pentagon? The answer is obvious for any politician as well as for an average citizen: the punishment will be harsh and inevitable.”
The ambassador went on to draw the bottom line: “Russia will respond to this insolent and presumptuous terrorist attack. We will answer when we consider it necessary. We will answer in accordance with the assessments of the threat that Kiev posed to the leadership of our country.”
I agree with Bhadrakumar that there will be no knee-jerk reaction from Moscow. But public opinion in Russia demands that there will be payback for the attack and against anyone involved in it.
Putin’s hands are tied beyond a point when the country is in rage and demanding retribution, as evident from the comments by former Russian President and current Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev: “After today’s terrorist attack, there are no options left except for the physical elimination of Zelensky and his clique.”
That Zelenski fled to Finland, then to the Netherlands and Germany after the drones hit the Kremlin is a sure sign of his complicity in the act.
When (if?) he comes back to Kiev it will be bunker life for the rest of his reign.