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Defense Ministry announces air defense drills in the Moscow region. ISW suspects an ‘information operation.’

Drills of Russia’s air defense systems took place in the Moscow region, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense. Crews of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems learned “to repel air attacks on important military, industrial, and administrative targets,” the ministry said.

Photos and videos of air defense systems being installed in and around Moscow surfaced on the Internet, primarily on social media accounts, several days ago. Bloomberg writes that the installations reflect Russian leadership’s fear that Ukraine could launch drone attacks on Moscow.

U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War wrote, in a January 20 assessment of the Russia-Ukraine war, that the air defense systems are likely part of the Kremlin’s ongoing campaign “to present Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an existential war.” The ISW believes it is unlikely that the Kremlin sees a real threat to Moscow from Kyiv, but that the Kremlin is eager to “prepare the Russian domestic information space for a protracted war in Ukraine and further sacrifices,” as well as to “contextualize the war in Ukraine in the Russian mythos of the Great Patriotic War.”

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