Tallinn: Russian authorities early on Tuesday accused Kyiv of yet another attack on Moscow and its surroundings with drones, one of which hit a building in the capital that was damaged by a drone just days ago in a similar attack early on Sunday.
Russian officials have claimed that the intensified attacks on the capital region reflect failures in Ukraine’s counteroffensive, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said over the weekend that “the war is gradually coming back to Russian territory,” but stopped short of taking responsibility of the attacks.
The repeated drone strikes underscore Moscow’s vulnerability as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags into its 18th month.
The Russian Defence Ministry said in the early hours of Tuesday that it it shot down two Ukrainian drones outside Moscow and jammed another, sending it crashing into a skyscraper in the Moscow City business district and damaging the building’s facade.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the drone crashed into the same building that was damaged in a similar attack early Sunday.
IQ-Quarter, located 7.2 kms (4.5 miles) from the Kremlin, houses a number of government agencies, including the headquarters of the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Sobyanin said the Tuesday attack didn’t result in any casualties.
It wasn’t clear why the same building was hit twice in a row. In both incidents, the Russian military said the drones that hit the skyscraper were jammed before crashing.
Sobyanin said the drone that struck the building Tuesday hit the 21st floor, one of the floors housing the Economic Development ministry.
Photos from the site of the crash showed several panels of glass missing, exposing charred insides of the building, and about a dozen more damaged. According to the mayor, 150 square metres of the building’s glass facade was damaged.
Zelenskyy’s advisor Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that Moscow “is rapidly getting used to a full-fledged war, which, in turn, will soon move to the territory of the authors of the war’ to collect all their debts”, without confirming or denying Kyiv’s involvement in the attack.
The Russian military also said that Kyiv’s forces tried to attack two of its warships in the Black Sea overnight, using maritime drones.
Three drones targeted two patrol vessels, Sergei Kotov and Vasily Bykov, 340 kilometers southwest of the Russian-controlled city of Sevastopol on the annexed Crimean peninsula, the Defence Ministry reported. All three drones were destroyed, the report said.
The attacks on Moscow and Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, follow a deadly Russian missile strike on Kryvyi Rih, a city in central Ukraine and Zelenskyy’s hometown. Monday’s strike partially destroyed a residential building and killed at least six people, wounding dozens more. (AP)