Russian authorities said on Tuesday that at least eight drones targeted Moscow during the early hours of the morning, with one drone attacking a civilian area in the heart of the city.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, five of the drones were shot down, while a further three drones were jammed, forcing them to veer off course.
The strike came as Russia also launched fresh strikes on the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, the third such attack on the city in the last day alone.
Speaking on Russian television, President Vladimir Putin described the attempted strikes as a “terrorist” attack, and said that the drones were likely launched in response to a recent Russian strike on Ukraine’s military intelligence headquarters.
“In response to this, the Kyiv regime chose a different path – the path of attempts to intimidate Russia, to intimidate Russia’s citizens, and of air strikes against residential buildings,” Putin said, mimicking Ukraine’s repeated criticism of Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure across the country.
Putin also said that Ukraine was attempting to provoke Russia into “responding in kind,” a comment that underscores Russia’s repeated denial of claims that Russian drone and missile strikes have been deliberately targeted at civilian infrastructure in Ukrainian towns and cities.
The attacks come just weeks after two drones were spotted flying over Moscow’s skies on May 3. Video footage showed the drones apparently targeting the Kremlin and being shot down by Russian air defense systems just moments before they would have struck government buildings. The Kremlin described the initial attacks as an attempt by the Ukrainian military to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Some Damage to Moscow Buildings
Unlike the last attempted drone strikes in Moscow, the latest attack resulted in some damage to buildings in Moscow.
The city’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said that “insignificant damage” was done to multiple buildings, but that the attack ultimately brought the war home to Russian civilians who have so far seen comparatively little fighting on Russian soil.
Two people were also treated for minor injuries following the strike, but were not hospitalized, according to Sobyanin.
While Russia was accused of orchestrating the May 3 drone attacks in Moscow – a claim that has since been walked back by most analysts – many believe that Russia is now deliberately playing down the more recent attacks over fears that it will impact Russian support for the war.
Russian analyst Tatiana Stanovaya from the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center said in a Telegram post that the Russian president doesn’t appear to fear the consequences of the conflict.
“You ask, why is Putin behaving like this, does he really not understand and fear the consequences?” Stanovaya wrote. “Apparently he isn’t afraid, and everything is built on the idea that has been voiced more than once about a patient people who will understand everything and endure everything.”
The White House on Tuesday voiced its opposition to the strikes. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the United States is gathering information about what happened on Tuesday morning and that officials have requested more information from Moscow to gain more clarity about the nature of the strikes.
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Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.