Russian invasion: Situation report day 523
July 31, 2023 - Ukrainian President Zelensky said “war is returning to the territory of Russia” after three drones were shot down over Moscow, damaging buildings.
Hostile drones have reached the Russian capital several times in recent months, including near the Russian Defence Ministry a week earlier and the Kremlin in May, although so far they have not causes major damage. Kyiv did not claim responsibility for any of these attacks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Chinese and African proposal for ending the war could form the basis for peace, but blamed Ukraine’s counteroffensive as inhibiting prospects for negotiations. Russia has continued its own offensive operations throughout the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Former president Dmitry Medvedev says Russia would be forced to use a nuclear weapon if the Ukrainian counteroffensive was successful. Russia's nuclear doctrine sets out that nuclear weapons can be used in response to aggression against Russia carried out using conventional weapons which threatens the existence of the Russian state. Russia unilaterally annexed Ukrainian territory, and the Russian narrative paints Ukraine as a NATO proxy, thereby making the successful recapture of Ukrainian territory a direct attack on the Russian homeland.