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Monday June 17, 2024

Putin slams Ukraine as drones hit Moscow high-rises

By AFP
May 31, 2023

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused Kyiv of seeking to “frighten” Russians after drones hit Moscow high-rises in the first such attack since the beginning of the Kremlin´s assault on Ukraine.

As drones struck in and around Moscow, Russian drones targeted Kyiv for a third straight day while Ukraine gears up for a major offensive against Russian forces. Officials said no one was seriously injured in Moscow and there was only “minor” damage to residential buildings, but some ordinary people said they never thought the Russian capital could be hit in this way. “I somehow thought that all of this was somewhere far away, that this would not affect us, and suddenly this has become very close,” pensioner Tatyana Kalinina told AFP in southwest Moscow near one of the damaged residential buildings.

Putin said that Moscow´s air defence had worked satisfactorily, referring to the attacks as Kyiv´s “response” to a Russian strike on Ukraine´s army intelligence headquarters. “The Kyiv regime chose a different path to frighten Russians,” Putin said.

The Russian defence ministry said that eight drones were used in the attack, adding that five of them were downed and three disabled. The foreign ministry blamed the West, saying its “support for the Kyiv regime is pushing the Ukrainian leadership towards increasingly reckless acts, including terrorism.”

The United States said it did not support attacks inside Russia. “We have been focused on providing Ukraine with the equipment and training they need to retake their own sovereign territory,” a State Department spokesperson said.

Two drones crashed into high-rise residential buildings in Moscow´s affluent southwest, while a third damaged a residential building in a suburb. The other drones fell outside Moscow. Some of the debris was found around 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Putin´s Novo-Ogaryovo residence.

One video shared on social media showed an explosion followed by a column of smoke rising into the sky. This month two drones were intercepted over the Kremlin, but Tuesday´s attacks were the first time that unmanned aerial vehicles hit residential areas of Moscow, hundreds of kilometres from the front lines in Ukraine.