Andrey Kartapolov, the chair of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, has made a statement regarding the Russian army’s inability to defend St. Petersburg, the second-largest city in Russia, from attacks by Ukrainian kamikaze drones.
In his statement, Kartapolov acknowledged the significance of St. Petersburg, referring to it as the second capital and a place of great importance for Russia due to its historical and political significance. However, he pointed out that it is currently “impossible” to shield the city with an impenetrable air defense system.
“St. Petersburg holds the status of the second capital for us; it’s a small homeland of our president. In a nutshell, the city is of great and utmost significance for Russia. However, to close it off with an ‘impenetrable air defense shield’ is currently impossible,” Kartapolov told journalists.
Russia has faced challenges with the emergence of new Ukrainian kamikaze drones capable of striking deep into its territory at distances of up to 1000 kilometers. This is a result of the Russian army’s significant losses during its invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. These losses have exposed a critical shortage of modern air defense systems, which are even insufficient for protecting strategically vital assets.
For instance, on January 21st, a strike was carried out on an oil terminal in the port of Ust-Luga on the Baltic Sea, impacting Russia’s ability to export over 40% of its oil.
General-Colonel Kartapolov, who formerly commanded the Western Military District of the Russian army, recommended that Russian companies take the initiative to procure air defense systems independently, given the Ministry of Defense’s financial constraints.