War in Ukraine comes to Moscow as both capitals hit by drones

MOSCOW/KYIV: Ukrainian drones struck Moscow on Tuesday but were neutralized, Russia said in what a politician called the worst attack on the capital since World War II, while Kiev was also hit from the air for the third time in 24 hours.
Since Russia sent troops to its neighbor in February last year, the war has largely been fought inside Ukraine, although Moscow has reported a few attacks on its territory, including an alleged attempt assassination of President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the early morning drone attack injured two people, while some residents of two lightly damaged buildings were briefly evacuated.
The Russian Defense Ministry said eight drones sent from Kiev were shot down or hijacked, although Baza, a Telegram channel linked to the security services, said more than 25 were involved.
Residents said they heard a loud bang followed by the smell of gasoline. Some filmed a downed drone and a plume of smoke rising above the Moscow skyline.
Lawmaker Maxim Ivanov called it the most serious assault on Moscow since the Nazis, saying no citizen could now avoid “the new reality”. “Either you will vanquish the enemy in one fell swoop with our homeland, or the indelible shame of cowardice, collaboration and betrayal will engulf your family,” he said.
Two weeks ago, two drones exploded over the Kremlin in an attack that Russia has also blamed on kyiv and which targeted Putin.
Ukraine’s presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak denied Kiev was directly involved in targeting Moscow on Tuesday, although he said “we’re excited to watch” and predicted more to come.
In a messy stalemate for most of 2023 with Russian troops occupying parts of eastern Ukraine, the war has killed tens of thousands, uprooted millions, reduced cities to rubble and caused havoc in the global economy.
Kyiv Skyscraper Edition
In Kyiv, the Ukrainian Defense Forces said it shot down more than 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones on Tuesday.
One person died and four were injured when debris from a destroyed Russian projectile hit a high-rise building setting a fire, Ukrainian officials said. Two upper floors were destroyed with people possibly still under the rubble.
Photos by Kyiv officials and Reuters reporters showed flames engulfing the top of the building. “The attack was massive, came from different directions, in several waves,” said Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration.
Russia attacked Kiev 17 times in May with drones or missiles, mostly at night, in an apparent attempt to undermine Ukrainians’ will to fight after more than 15 months of war.
“These missile attacks of a fairly dense frequency are specifically aimed at depleting both our air defense forces and our physical and moral forces,” said Natalya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the Southern Ukraine Military Command.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said US-provided Patriot missile defenses achieved a 100% intercept rate. “Terror will be defeated,” he said in his Monday evening speech.
Ukraine promises a counter-offensive backed by Western weapons to try to drive out the Russian occupiers from the territory seized since Moscow launched its “special military operation”.
On the eastern front lines, Russian paratroopers and motorized units were replacing Wagnerian mercenary units in the town of Bakhmut, which has been at the center of fighting for months, according to a Ukrainian military representative.
Moscow said it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” its neighbor and protect Russian speakers. Western opponents say the invasion is an imperialist land grab.
Moscow says it is open to resuming stalled peace talks with kyiv and hailed the mediation efforts of Brazil and China.
But kyiv insists that the full withdrawal of Russian troops is the only way to end the war.


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