May 03, 2023

Details in the drone incident the Kremlin says aimed to assassinate Putin 'don't quite add up.' Experts have 3 theories on what happened.

Source: Business Insider

Journalists: Ryan Pickrell, Mia Jankowicz, Sophia Ankel

But experts told Insider that despite bold statements from both countries, much remains uncertain. "There is a lot we still don't know about this strike," said Samuel Bendett, a Center for Naval Analyses expert on Russian defense and drones.

James Patton Rogers, a military historian and adviser to NATO on drones and warfare, said that "there's a few things that don't quite add up in this situation."

Bendett, for instance, noted that "it seems strange" that the unmanned aircraft managed to fly so close to the Kremlin complex, seemingly evading most of Moscow's layered air defenses. These defenses, especially for critical targets like the Kremlin, have been bolstered since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but, that being said, questions have come up about Russian force protection capabilities.


Dr. Marina Miron, a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of War Studies at King's College London, said, based on observing its flight pattern in the video, that it could be a small Chinese-made quadcopter, a fairly ubiquitous system. Bendett identified other possibilities as the Chinese-made Mugin-5 or the Ukrainian PD-1.

Both Patton Rogers and Bendett told Insider that it is feasible the drone used could be the UJ-22, a fixed-wing drone often used by Ukrainian forces. Bendett said the "UJ-22 has a long range and can potentially reach Moscow."

Read the full story and more from Insider.


  • Samuel Bendett

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Samuel Bendett is an Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves research on the ...