Ukrainian drones struck districts of Moscow on Tuesday in what President Vladimir Putin said Kyiv’s ‘response’ to a Russian strike on a military intelligence headquarters in Ukraine that was hit by air for the third time in 24 hours.
Tuesday’s early morning raid targeted some of Moscow’s wealthiest areas including where Putin and the elite have residences. He was later in the Kremlin and received a briefing on the attack, a spokesman said.
A Ukrainian “headquarters of military intelligence was struck two or three days ago,” Putin said on state television. “In response, the Kyiv regime chose a different path to frighten Russians,” referring to the attack on Moscow earlier Tuesday.
Russia’s defence ministry said eight drones sent by Kyiv and targeting civilians were shot down or diverted, though Baza, a Telegram channel with links to the security services, said more than 25 were involved. Two people were injured while some apartment blocks were briefly evacuated, according to Moscow’s mayor.
On the other hand, the United States said it does not back attacks inside Russia, but Moscow bore responsibility for the war with Ukraine.
“As a general matter, we do not support attacks inside of 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 as Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Sweden.
The spokesperson said that the United States was still assessing what happened in Moscow, where residential buildings were hit for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine, while Putin blamed Kyiv.
The State Department spokesperson claimed Russia had carried out air strikes in Kyiv on Tuesday for the 17th time in May. “Russia started this unprovoked war against Ukraine. Russia could end it at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine instead of launching brutal attacks against Ukraine’s cities and people every day.”
Since Russia sent troops into its neighbour in February last year, the war has largely been fought inside Ukraine, though Moscow has reported some attacks on its territory and said one was an assassination attempt against President Putin.
Lawmaker Maxim Ivanov called it the most serious assault on Moscow since the Nazis, saying no Russian could now avoid “the new reality”.
Earlier this month, two drones exploded over the Kremlin in an attack Russia also blamed on Kyiv and said was aimed at Putin.
“The sabotage and terrorist attacks of Ukraine will only increase,” said another Russian lawmaker, Alexander Khinshtein, who called for a radical strengthening of defences.
“Do not underestimate the enemy!”