Ukraine War Extends to Moscow as drones Attack both Capitals

A view shows a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Moscow, Russia, May 30, 2023. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW/KYIV (Reuters) Ukrainian drones attacked Moscow in what a Russian politician said was the deadliest attack since World War II, but Kyiv Japan also escaped from the third war in 24 years. Over the years, the air has been hit for hours.

Since February 2022, when Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to other countries, the war has been fought mainly within Ukraine.

Airstrikes on targets far from the front lines have increased in recent years as Russian forces entrenched in eastern and southern Ukraine and chaos continues on the ground.

Eight drones sent from Kiev targeting civilians were either shot down or deflected with electronic jammers, the Russian Defense Ministry said. More than 25 people were involved, according to Baza, a telegram channel with ties to the security services.

Mikhail Podlyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, denied direct Kiev involvement, but said he was “happy to follow the situation” and expected more such attacks. Two people were injured when some blocks of apartments were temporarily evacuated, the Moscow mayor said. Local residents said they heard the smell of gasoline after a loud explosion. Others filmed the drone being shot down, causing smoke to rise.

An early morning drone salvo targeted some of Moscow’s most prominent neighborhoods, including the residences of President Putin and the elite. A spokesman said he was in the Kremlin afterwards and was informed of the attack. Putin later said Ukraine’s largest-ever drone attack on Moscow was an attempt to intimidate and provoke Russia, adding that air defenses around the Russian capital had been strengthened.

Putin said Ukraine chose to “blackmail Russia and its people and attack their homes”.

Civilian targets in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities have been repeatedly hit by Russian drones and missiles since the war began.

But Tuesday was the second time the Russian capital came under direct artillery fire, following an apparent drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month, with Moscow also condemning the attack on Kiev. It is rumored that the purpose was to kill Putin.

The White House said it continues to gather information on reports of drone attacks in Moscow, but reiterated that Washington does not support attacks inside Russia. The US government is committed to providing Ukraine with the equipment and training it needs to regain its sovereign territory, the spokesman said in a statement.

Russian lawmaker Maksim Ivanov said the attack was the deadliest attack on Moscow since Nazi Germany invaded World War II and said Russians could no longer escape the “new reality”. 

Another Russian lawmaker, Alexander Hinstein, called for a drastic increase in national defense, saying “sabotage and terrorist attacks in Ukraine are on the rise”. “Don’t underestimate your enemies!

Russian state television reported the attacks soberly, and many Muscovites continued to live with the famous fatalism. Most shrugged their shoulders, and many expressed sadness at the seeming escalation of the conflict. Olga, who lives near the site of the drone crash on Profsoyuznaya Street, described the attack as “of course, of course… what else were you waiting for?”

The war left tens of thousands dead in Ukraine, displaced millions of people from their homes, reduced cities to rubble, and devastated the global economy.

The Kiev city said four people, including two children, were killed and 34 wounded in the latest Russian attacks around Ukraine on Tuesday.

“Russia is trying to crush us and crush our will,” said Ukraine’s Interior Minister Igor Klimenko.

Ukraine says it has shot down more than 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones in its capital. 11 people were injured.

A 33-year-old woman died on her balcony after debris from a wrecked Russian projectile crashed into a Kiev skyscraper, officials said. Two upper floors were destroyed, there may still be people under the rubble, and the upper floors were on fire. Russia attacked Kiev 17 times in May with drones and rockets, mostly at night, apparently in an attempt to demoralize it. Ukraine claims its US-supplied Patriot missiles have achieved 100% interception.

Kiev has promised a counteroffensive to drive the Russian occupiers out of the occupied territories, backed by recently acquired Western weapons, but the Russian government is using this to “de-Nazi” Ukraine and protect the Russian-speaking population. 

Ukraine calls it an imperialist land grab driven by Moscow’s long history of rule and seeking closer ties with the West.

Russia claims to have annexed four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine, but neither region is fully under Russian military control and the annexation is not internationally recognized. Still, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said about 1.5 million people in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions now have Russian passports.

Putin has been accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, and there is speculation that Putin may attend a summit in South Africa in August, and in theory the authorities will We will have to arrest the president.

Asked about this, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia intended to participate in the BRICS conference “at an appropriate level” and that further details were yet to be announced. This group includes China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Russia has “wanted” Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, reports RIA news agency.