“I’m packing an emergency bag.” Tatarstan recovers from drone attack

“I’m packing an emergency bag.” Tatarstan recovers from drone attack
“I’m packing an emergency bag.” Tatarstan recovers from drone attack
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Fear, panic and distrust in the authorities’ ability to protect their residents. Tuesday’s drone attack on factories in Russia’s Tatarstan surprised locals who thought they were a safe distance away from war.

On Tuesday, drones hit a refinery in the city of Nizhnekamsk and an industrial facility in the special economic zone near the city of Jelaguba, where Iranian Shahid drones are allegedly being assembled. According to a security source of the Ukrainska pravda server, Ukrainian military intelligence was behind the operation. Kyiv has not yet officially commented on the matter.

“The public in Tatarstan is scared and in shock that… the war has come to them, 1,300 kilometers behind the front line,” Tatar political expert Ruslan Ajsin told The Moscow Times.

The attack was the deepest inland to date since the start of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It was also the first attack to target a republic populated mostly by a non-Russian ethnic group.

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnichanov called on residents to “remain calm and not fall into the panic deliberately spread by those who committed the crime.”

However, it is clear from the posts on social networks and the statements of locals that it was not completely successful.

Analysis

Ukrainian long-range unmanned kamikaze drones are penetrating Russian territory more and more frequently and deeper. Oil refineries became their main target this year. But other parts of the oil industry are not. Why?

“It’s hard to keep calm when you drive your children to a school located a kilometer from the largest industrial sites,” Alina Andrejeva wrote under Minnichan’s post on the VKontakte platform.

At least 13 people, including two minors, were injured during the attack on Jelabuga, which hit a hostel there. In all cases, they were students of the local polytechnic college.

Last June, the White House published a satellite image that showed the construction of a factory for the production of Iranian Shahid drones, precisely in Jelabuz.

According to the server Ukrainska pravda, the students of the local polytechnic school were also supposed to participate in the installation. From the investigation of the Protocol server and the YouTube channel Razvorot, it appears that many of them performed their work under the threat of expulsion and under very harsh conditions.

In addition, they said, they knew that if they were actually expelled, their parents would have to pay the school “damages” in the amount of several thousand dollars.

Minnichanov already announced on Tuesday that there was no serious damage and the technological process was not disrupted. However, the attack sowed fear among the locals.

“I live two to three hours away from Jelabuga, there is a factory nearby. I’m packing a bag in case of an emergency,” the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous to avoid being targeted by local security forces, told The Moscow Times.

“At first I was in shock, but it quickly faded because we have been following these events (the war) for two years. We know that such tragedies can happen,” she added.

According to political expert Ajsin, it is unlikely that Tatarstan’s anger would turn against Ukraine on a large scale. “They are more likely to turn against local authorities who are unable to provide security,” he thinks.

This is also evidenced by some posts that appeared on social networks. “If (something worse) happened, we wouldn’t even be able to get out of Nizhnekamsk. It seems that there are no measures to protect people,” complained a VKontakte user with the nickname Julija Spravedlivaja.

Another user asked why the authorities in Tatarstan did not tighten security measures in the region when they knew about the threat of an attack for a long time.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with The Washington Post that targeting Russian energy infrastructure is a legitimate military strategy. The strikes are in retaliation for Russian attacks on critical infrastructure and are in line with Ukraine’s military goals, Zelenskyy said.

The article is in Czech

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