MOSCOW/KYIV: Ukrainian drones struck wealthy districts of Moscow on Tuesday, Russia said in what one politician called the most dangerous attack since World War Two, while Kyiv was also hit from the air for the third time in 24 hours.
Since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into its neighbour in February 2022, the war has largely been fought inside Ukraine.
Aerial strikes on targets far from the front lines have intensified recently amid a messy stalemate on the ground with Russian forces entrenched in Ukraine’s east and south.
Russia’s defence ministry said eight drones sent by Kyiv and targeting civilians were shot down or diverted with electronic jammers, though Baza, a Telegram channel with links to the security services, said more than 25 were involved.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential aide, denied Kyiv was directly involved but said “we are pleased to watch events” and forecast more such strikes.
Two people were injured while some apartment blocks were briefly evacuated, according to Moscow’s mayor. Residents said they heard loud bangs followed by the smell of petrol. Some filmed a drone being shot down and a plume of smoke.Tuesday’s early-morning drone volley targeted some of Moscow’s most prestigious districts including where Putin and the elite have residences. He was later in the Kremlin and received a briefing on the attack, a spokesman said. Afterward, Putin said Ukraine’s biggest ever drone strike on Moscow was an attempt to frighten and provoke Russia, and that air defences around the Russian capital would be strengthened.
Ukraine, Putin said, had chosen the path of trying “to intimidate Russia, Russian citizens and attacks on residential buildings”. Civilian targets in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities have since the earliest days of the war been struck repeatedly by Russian drones and missiles.
But Tuesday marked only the second time the Russian capital had come under direct fire, after an apparent drone strike on the Kremlin earlier this month that Moscow also blamed on Kyiv and said was meant to kill Putin.
The White House said it was still gathering information on the reports of drones striking in Moscow, while reiterating that Washington did not support attacks inside Russia.