Russia says drones lightly damage Moscow buildings
KYIV, Ukraine — A rare drone attack jolted Moscow early Tuesday, causing only light damage but forcing evacuations as residential buildings were struck in the Russian capital for the first time in the war against Ukraine. The Kremlin, meanwhile, pursued its relentless bombardment of Kyiv with a third assault on the city in 24 hours.
The Russian Defense Ministry said five drones were shot down in Moscow and the systems of three others were jammed, causing them to veer off course. President Vladimir Putin called it a “terrorist” act by Kyiv.
The attack, while causing only what Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said was “insignificant damage” to several buildings, brought the war home to civilians in Russia’s capital. Two people received treatment for unspecified injuries but did not need hospitalization, Sobyanin said, adding that residents of two high-rise buildings damaged in the attack were evacuated.
Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the wider Moscow region, said some of the drones were “shot down on the approach to Moscow.”
Ukraine made no direct comment on the attack, which would be one of its deepest and most daring strikes into Russia since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than 15 months ago.
Putin said Moscow’s air defense “worked in a satisfactory way,” but added it was “clear what we need to do to plug the gaps” in the system.
“The Kyiv regime … attempts to intimidate Russia, Russian citizens and strikes at civilian buildings,” he said during a public event. “It is, of course, a clear indication of terrorist activity.”
Putin charged that Ukraine launched Tuesday’s attack in response to Russia striking Ukraine’s military intelligence headquarters in Kyiv over the weekend. But Andrii Cherniak, a Ukrainian intelligence representative, said the Kremlin’s forces failed to hit the building because its missiles were shot down.
Asked by The Associated Press whether there was high-level concern that the invasion of Ukraine was endangering Russian civilians, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said only that attacks on Russia reinforced the need to prosecute what the Kremlin calls the “special military operation.”
Tatiana Stanovaya of the Carnegie Endowment said the Kremlin’s policy is to play down the attacks, reflecting Putin’s belief voiced more than once that the Russian people were patient enough to “understand everything and endure everything.”
Moscow residents reported hearing explosions before dawn. At one site of a crashed drone in Moscow southwest, police fenced off an area near a residential building and put the drone debris in a cardboard box before carrying it away.
At another site, apartment windows were shattered and there were scorch marks on the building’s front.
It was the second reported strike on Moscow since May 3, when Russian authorities said two drones targeted the Kremlin in what they portrayed as an attempt on Putin’s life. Ukraine denied it was behind that attack.
Last week, the Russian border region of Belgorod was the target of one of the most serious cross-border raids since the war began, with two far-right pro-Ukrainian paramilitary groups claiming responsibility. Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said a man was killed and two others were seriously wounded Tuesday by the Ukrainian shelling of a building hosting temporarily displaced residents of the region.