The Russian Defense Ministry has announced that Ukrainian forces launched three drone attacks on Moscow, showcasing the fact that after more than 17 months of war, hardly any place is safe from attacks in Russia. The Defense Ministry revealed that one drone was destroyed in Odintsovo, while two others hit commercial buildings in the capital city after being intercepted by Russian air defenses. Although there were no injuries reported by Moscow’s mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, video footage from Russian state media displayed blown-out windows and damaged beams in one of Moscow’s prominent skyscrapers.
Ukraine typically does not claim responsibility for attacks in Russia as part of its strategy to maintain a military advantage and element of surprise. However, senior Ukrainian officials recently stated that the recent drone attacks on Moscow were orchestrated by Kyiv. Shortly after the attack, a Ukrainian Air Force spokesman, Yuri Ihnat, released a statement neither accepting nor denying responsibility. On national television, Ihnat commented, “They got what they wanted. There is always something flying in Russia, including Moscow. Those who are not affected by the war are now affected, which creates certain moods. Russia can no longer claim it shot down everything.”
Apart from the attacks in Moscow, Ukraine has also been accused of using drones to target Russian-occupied Crimea, with Moscow claiming a new wave of attacks was launched overnight. Furthermore, Ukraine has targeted oil facilities and military air bases deep inside Russia. However, the attacks in Moscow have been less extensive than the nightly drone and missile strikes conducted by Russian forces across Ukraine, which often result in civilian casualties.
The first drone attacks on Moscow occurred in early May, targeting the Kremlin compound. American officials suggested that the assault was likely carried out by one of Kyiv’s special military or intelligence units. Subsequently, attacks on a high-end Moscow neighborhood took place at the end of the same month. This month, there have been at least three drone attacks on Moscow, some coming close to striking military facilities critical to the war effort.
These attacks have shattered the assumption among Moscow residents, who believed they would be spared from the fighting due to their distance from Ukraine. The attacks have also sparked criticism of President Vladimir V. Putin’s handling of the war, which has imposed a significant economic burden on Russia and resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of soldiers’ lives.
The skyscraper complex that sustained damage on Sunday is known as Moscow City and symbolizes Russia’s economic resurgence under Putin. The complex houses government ministries, finance and tech companies, and a renowned 89th-floor restaurant with panoramic views. The attack occurred just hours before Putin attended an annual Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, where he compared Russian naval forces involved in the invasion of Ukraine to their predecessors who fought against the Nazis in World War II.
Despite the attacks, Ukraine shows no signs of backing down in the face of Russian forces. President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the nation, promising retaliation after weeks of continuous Russian bombardment on Odesa, a city vital to Ukraine’s economy and with significant cultural and historical significance. Zelensky did not explicitly mention the strikes in Moscow but stated that “gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia,” including military and symbolic centers.
As Ukraine intensifies its efforts in the south as part of its counteroffensive, it is utilizing newly trained soldiers and new weapons from the United States and Europe. The campaign aims to push past Russian soldiers who have built a well-fortified defense over months. The counteroffensive also includes consistent drone and missile strikes in Crimea, which is crucial to Russia’s war efforts and was illegally annexed in 2014. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed to have intercepted 25 Ukrainian drones targeting Crimea overnight, while Ukraine’s Air Force stated that Russia had launched four attack drones at the Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk regions in southern Ukraine, all of which were intercepted. In Sumy, a city in the north of Ukraine, two people died and 20 were wounded when a Russian missile struck a building on Saturday.
Overall, the recent drone attacks on Moscow have underscored the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine. These attacks, combined with Russia’s ongoing nightly strikes in Ukraine and Ukraine’s relentless counteroffensive, paint a picture of a war that is far from over.