Russia’s Attacks on Kyiv Are ‘Straight Up Terrorism’: Former Ambassador


Russia’s series of airstrikes on Kyiv over the past 24 hours is “straight up terrorism,” said Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia.

According to the Ukrainian military, Moscow launched 40 air-based cruise missiles and 38 Iranian-made drones overnight Sunday into Monday, followed by a blitz of ballistic missiles during daylight hours.

The strikes targeted several cities across Ukraine, but appear to have been largely concentrated on Kyiv, with Ukraine successfully intercepting all 11 ballistic rockets and over 40 other missiles and drones targeting the capital, reported the Kyiv City Military Administration.

Monday’s airstrikes followed a day after Russia’s largest Iranian-made drone strike since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that 59 Shahed-131/136 drones were launched overnight Saturday into Sunday, and Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Colonel Yuriy said that much of the attack was concentrated on Kyiv.

Debris lies on a road after Kyiv, Ukraine, came under attack Monday morning from both Russian drones and missiles. Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, joined calls to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism after its latest airstrikes against the Ukrainian capital.
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

“These attacks are straight up terrorism,” McFaul tweeted Monday evening. He served as the ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration between 2012 and 2014.

“Well past time for the free world to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism,” he added. McFaul was responding to a tweet from Ukrainian politician Oleksiy Goncharenko, who said that Russia had targeted Kyiv with airstrikes 16 or 17 times in May alone. Reuters reported that Monday’s attack during daylight hours was the 16th airstrike.

According to the Associated Press, Russia launched another attack on Kyiv before dawn on Tuesday local time. Preliminary data showed that more than 20 Iranian-made drones were destroyed by Ukraine’s air defense, and at least one person had died after a high-rise building caught fire during the attack.

The Biden administration has faced repeated pressure throughout the 15-month war in Ukraine to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. The European Union adopted a resolution in November calling on its members to place Russia on its terrorist list, and the U.S. Senate passed a bill in July calling on the State Department to do the same.

The bill was introduced by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been one of the loudest critics against Russian President Vladimir Putin and was recently put on a wanted list by Russia’s Interior Ministry, a move that the Republican called a “badge of honor.”

But President Joe Biden decided in September not to designate Russia as a terrorist nation, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a briefing, claiming that identifying Russia as such could delay food exports and jeopardize deals to move goods through the Black Sea.

The ISW noted in its assessment Monday that Russia began “a new limited air campaign in recent months to degrade Ukrainian counteroffensive capabilities” as Kyiv has been gearing up for an offensive to retake Russian-occupied territory.

The think tank added that “the Russian prioritization of targeting Kyiv is likely further limiting the campaign’s ability to meaningfully constrain potential Ukrainian counteroffensive actions.”

Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry for further information.


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