With two drones and a small explosion on a Kremlin tower, Russian leadership quickly blamed Ukraine for an assassination attempt against President Vladimir Putin. After finding Russian markings on one of the drones, and Ukraine successfully denying involvement, the Kremlin then charged the U.S. The fact remains, if this was a foreign attack, what is up with the fabled Russian air defense? This is a tremendous embarrassment at best, or as many analysts think, a false flag operation – to garner more sympathy for the despot’s cause.

Regardless, Russia used the event as justification to hammer Ukraine with missiles and drones early yesterday morning. The attack on Kyiv included nearly three dozen drones, one of the largest drone wave attacks on the capital. Ukrainian news reported all the drones were shot down, but falling debris caused destruction. With other attacks in the country, at least five people were injured and several cars, residences, and gas stores damaged.

Simultaneously, Moscow has been preparing for their victory over the Nazis ceremonies today. Putin has typically used these ceremonies to boost his image and strength. But the event is being scaled back. Why? Russians carry photographs of relatives who fought and died during WWII. However, with the incredible number of soldiers dying in Ukraine, Russians may very well carry their photographs. Events could take a nasty turn with Russians realizing the scale of the Ukrainian debacle. Therefore, taking no chances, Moscow and regional leadership are cancelling marches. It is believed the Kremlin attack gives justification for the cancelations, as Ukraine may attack the gatherings.

There are many indicators that Moscow may have a control problem. As the war lags on, and the mounting losses of an additionally 20,000 soldiers this year alone, the events are taking a toll on the Russian people. Moscow’s attempt to blame the Ukraine War on the West is becoming feeble in the psyche of the Russia people. Continuing to present themselves as the victim, Russia’s string of lies endures. Within Russia media, it appears citizens believe the continued ludicrous propaganda.

As the Ukrainian counteroffensive is expected to begin in the next few days, unexplained events are unfolding which display rarely observed chinks in the Russian armor. These frailties might be reason for Western optimism, but some analysts are not so sure.

On Friday Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group announced the private army, fighting to capture Bakhmut for the past 6 months, will pull out of the Ukrainian city on Wednesday (10 May). His reason for the rant, a lack of ammunition to continue the fight. Suddenly on Monday night, Prigozhin ditched the withdrawal plan, after receiving promises of the arms needed to capture the city in Eastern Ukraine. Is this fear by the Wagner Group over the counteroffensive or are we seeing the innerworkings of Russia corruption and military logistics programing.

Over the weekend, the BBC reported Russia had sparked a “mad panic”, evacuating 18 settlements and the town of Enerhodar near the contested Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in preparation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Perhaps unnecessary, miles of traffic caused five-hour delays as thousands of cars simultaneously moved east – the only allowable direction.

Unexplained explosions in Russia have occurred before and since the Kremlin incident. Installations have been attacked and Russia has lost numerous battles. The media response typically ignores these events. But Russians citizens are seeing the setbacks. Russians are nervous if not scared about the impending Ukrainian counteroffensive. Ukraine reported over the weekend that Russia moved most of the Black Sea Fleet warships to safer waters. Is this propaganda or is there real concern?

With the support of Western materiel and training, the Ukrainian military has exceeded the world’s expectations this past year. However, Ukrainian senior leaders are trying to restrain the high hopes for changing the momentum of the war through the counteroffensive. “The expectation from our counteroffensive campaign is overestimated in the world,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov stated last week. He added, “Most people are … waiting for something huge,” which he fears will be an “emotional disappointment.”

The question remains, with billions of Western dollars in weaponry streaming into the Ukrainian military, will the counteroffensive live up to the hype? We may soon see.

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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at Gr8Transitions4U.com.