Russia says it downed two drones that were targeting the Kremlin in Moscow last night and accused Ukraine of attempting to kill President Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin said the drones were disabled by special services using electronic radar assets.
Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state news agency, adding there was no material damage to buildings.
Symbolism is everything with the drone attack on the Kremlin – even it would appear from this (unverified) footage to the point of hitting the flagpole. We know from Pentagon leaks that US had concerns about Ukrainian strikes on Moscow pic.twitter.com/yOeVxtXdrA
— Mark Urban (@MarkUrban01) May 3, 2023
In a statement, the Kremlin said: “Last night, the Kyiv regime attempted to carry out a strike on the Kremlin residence of the President of the Russian Federation with unmanned aerial vehicles.”
It said it regarded this “as a planned terrorist act and an assassination attempt on the president”, and Russia “reserves the right to take retaliatory measures wherever and whenever is deemed necessary”.
Mr Putin had not been hurt and his schedule would continue as normal, the statement said. Fragments of the drones had fallen on the Kremlin site but no-one had been hurt, it said.
Footage on Russian social media showed smoke over central Moscow in the early hours of Wednesday.
Playing with fire…
🇷🇺🇺🇦 At night, Ukrainian formations used drones to attack the Kremlin residence of the President of Russia.
The sound of the explosion was also reported by local residents on Serafimovich Street in Moscow.
The Russian authorities said they reserve the right… pic.twitter.com/Iq7wCw4z6D
— Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) May 3, 2023
The Kremlin has said that the Victory Day parade on May 9 is still to go ahead despite a reported drone attack targeting President Vladimir Putin.
The May 9 parade, which takes place on Red Square, is a significant event in the Russian calendar to mark Soviet victory over the Nazis, and features a display of military hardware and troops.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agency TASS: “The parade will take place. There are no changes to the plans.”
Russia’s nationalists call for revenge on Ukraine after reported attack on Putin
Russia’s ultra-nationalists are calling for blood after last night’s alleged drone attack on the Kremlin.
Igor Girkin, a former Ukrainian separatist commander and influential military blogger, said on Wednesday it was time for Moscow to launch a devastating strike on Ukraine.
“Ukraine should be destroyed,” he wrote in his blog.
Margarita Simonyan, the hawkish chief of the Russia Today TV channel indicated a possible escalation.
“Maybe, it’s time to start it in earnest,” she tweeted, referring to Russia’s invasion and echoing comments made by Putin last year.
Ukraine denies involvement
Ukraine says it has no knowledge of an attempted drone strike on the Kremlin in Moscow, adding that it does not use its means to attack other countries.
“We do not have information on so-called night attacks on Kremlin,” the spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Serhiy Nykyforov, told CNN on Wednesday when asked about Moscow’s claim that it had foiled a Kyiv-ordered drone strike in the Russian capital.
“As President Zelensky has stated numerous times before, Ukraine uses all means at its disposal to free its own territory, not to attack others,” Nykyforov added.
Earlier on Wednesday, oil depots were ablaze in both Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday as both sides escalated a drone war targeting infrastructure ahead of Kyiv’s planned spring counter-offensive to try to end Moscow’s all-out invasion.
Scores of firefighters battled a huge fire that Russian authorities blamed on a Ukrainian drone crashing into an oil terminal on Russia’s side of the bridge it built to occupy Crimea.
In Ukraine, a fuel depot was also on fire after a suspected Russian drone strike on the central city of Kropyvnytskyi.