Russia has blamed Ukraine for drone strikes that hit Moscow on Tuesday morning injuring at least two people and damaging several buildings.
The Russian military says eight drones were used in the strikes, all of which were shot down by air defense or taken out with signal jamming technology.
Two drones were intercepted over the Kremlin earlier this month but this was the first time that unmanned aerial vehicles hit residential areas of Moscow, which is located hundreds of kilometers from the front lines in Ukraine.
— Natalka (@NatalkaKyiv) May 30, 2023
Andrei Vorobyov, the governor of the Moscow region, said several drones had also been downed near the capital. “This morning, the residents of certain districts in the Moscow region could hear explosions, it was our anti-air missile defense system,” he wrote.
“Several drones were shot down while approaching Moscow,” he added, urging residents to keep calm and adding that “all rescue services are doing their work”.
State Duma Deputy Alexander Khinshtein published a list of five sites where drones were apparently shot down, including the village of Razdory, which is several kilometers away from the luxury suburb of Rublyovka where President Vladimir Putin has a residence.
Three high-rise buildings in southwest Moscow were damaged by drones, state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing the emergency services.
The buildings included one near Leninsky Prospekt, a major artery into the city.
Since the start of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, drone attacks have hit targets outside Moscow, including military installations located far from the front.
Ukraine denies its drones attacked Moscow
Ukraine denies any involvement in the attacks. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, was asked about the strikes while appearing on a breakfast television show.
“We have nothing to do with this,” he said, but added that Kyiv is “watching with pleasure and forecast an increasing number of attacks”. He also joked that perhaps some Russian drones – fired at Ukraine – had decided to “come back”.
The Ukrainian capital itself was hit overnight by a large attack from Russia, with air defense shooting down more than 20 Russian drones. One person has been confirmed dead, in what was the 17th attack on Kyiv in May.
On Monday the head of Ukraine’s intelligence services, Kyrolo Budanov, promised a swift response to the recent surge in missile strikes on the capital.
The latest barrages landed as the Ukrainian capital was still recovering from an overnight Saturday drone attack, the biggest since Russia began its campaign in Ukraine in February last year.
Kyiv received its first shipments of the American-made Patriot surface-to-air missile system in April, and US President Joe Biden on Monday suggested more aid was to come.
Asked about Russia’s fierce attacks on Kyiv, Biden told reporters, “It’s not unexpected,” adding: “That’s why we’ve got to continue to give Ukraine all that it needs.”
Kyiv has been preparing an offensive, although its timing and focus have been the subject of months of speculation.