Russia Prepares Air Defense Over Moscow, 2,000 Soldiers ‘On Duty at Combat Posts’

Russia deployed air defenses in Moscow and provided residents of Belgorod, a city near the border with Ukraine, directions to bomb shelters on Saturday ahead of the New Year celebrations.

Approximately 2,000 servicemen will be “on duty at combat posts on New Year’s Eve” for Moscow’s air defense, the Russian Ministry of Defense said, according to Fox News.

“In total for the period of the New Year holidays and weekends, about 20 thousand military personnel of the air defense-missile defense formation of the Aerospace Forces will be on combat duty for air defense.”

The Ministry of Defense did not specify what led them to make the decision to deploy the systems and personnel or whether it believes Ukraine was seeking to attack Russian targets during the New Year festivities, Fox reported.

The announcement comes after Ukraine carried out several drone attacks deep in Russian territory, demonstrating its long-range attack capabilities.

Early Monday morning, Ukrainian drones attacked the Engels military airfield in Saratov, 450 miles southeast of Moscow. While Russian air defenses shot down the drones, debris fell on three soldiers, killing them, according to CNBC.

On Dec. 5, Ukraine attacked airfields in Saratov and Ryazan. Though Russia’s Ministry of Defense said it had intercepted Ukraine’s UAVs, the attacks demonstrated that Ukrainian drones could carry out missions beyond their reported capabilities, CNN reported.

Following the Dec. 5 attack, Secretary of State Antony Blinken distanced the U.S. from the Ukrainian strikes, saying that the U.S. neither “encouraged nor enabled” the drone strikes deep in Russian territory, according to Fox News.

Ukraine has sought long-range missile systems such as the ATACMS to carry out strikes in Russian territory.

Fearing escalation, President Joe Biden has rebuffed Ukrainian requests and has discouraged the use of the U.S.-provided HIMARS missile system for attacks on Russian soil.

However, pressure for longer-range missiles has intensified as Russia has embarked on a systematic campaign to degrade Ukrainian infrastructure and its electrical grid.

Russia fired five missiles and 10 kamikaze drones and carried out 29 airstrikes on civilian infrastructure between Friday morning and Saturday morning, Ukraine’s general staff said, according to The New York Times.

On Saturday afternoon, Russian bombings in Kyiv killed one person and damaged a hotel, the outlet reported.

“A terrorist state will not be forgiven,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a pre-recorded New Year’s Eve message. “Those who give orders for such strikes, and those who carry them out, will not receive a pardon. To put it mildly.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.