Financial TimesFinancial Times

Ukraine’s daring ‘shaping operations’ stretch Russian defences

By Roman Olearchyk, Christopher Miller, John Paul Rathbone and Henry Foy

30 May 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Ahead of its long-expected counter-offensive, Ukraine is trying to deceive the Russian military by meddling with its mindset in an effort to “shape” the battlefield. The FT explains.

First there was a mysterious drone strike on the Kremlin. Next came an “invasion” whose embarrassing implications for Moscow could prompt it to divert front-line troops to border regions. Then, late last week, Ukraine launched a marine drone attack on a Russian spy ship in the Black Sea. On Tuesday morning, as many as two dozen aerial drones attacked Moscow.

Ahead of Kyiv’s long-expected counter-offensive, when it aims to retake occupied territory, such attacks are just four of the increasingly daring “shaping operations” that Ukraine has launched this month.

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