Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow wounds one, shuts airport

Russian officials and media say ‘attempted terrorist attack’ on the capital city wounded one person, damaged two buildings and briefly suspended traffic at the Vnukovo airport.

A view shows the damaged facade of an office building in the Moscow City following a reported Ukrainian drone attack in Moscow, Russia, July 30, 2023.
The damaged facade of an office building in Moscow, following a reported Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian capital city, July 30, 2023 [Reuters]

Russian forces have intercepted three Ukrainian drones over Moscow, in an attack that wounded one person, damaged two office blocks and briefly forced the closure of an airport in the city.

The Russian defence ministry blamed the assault early on Sunday on Kyiv, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – without commenting on the drone attacks – warned that “war was coming to the territory of Russia”.

In a message on Telegram, the defence ministry said: “The Kyiv regime’s attempted terrorist attack with unmanned aerial vehicles on objects in the city of Moscow was thwarted”.

It said one of the drones was shot down, while two, “suppressed by electronic warfare”, crashed into a building complex in Moscow’s business district.

Photos from the site of the crash showed the facade of a skyscraper damaged on one floor. The capital’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the attack “insignificantly damaged” the outsides of two buildings in the Moscow City district.

A security guard was wounded, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported, citing emergency officials.

No flights went into or out of the Vnukovo airport on the southern outskirts of the city for about an hour, according to TASS, and the air space over Moscow and the outlying regions was temporarily closed for any aircraft.

Those restrictions have since been lifted.

Authorities also briefly closed a street for traffic near the site of the crash in the Moscow City area.

President Vladimir Putin, who was in his hometown of Saint Petersburg at the time of the attempted attacks for meetings with African leaders and a naval celebration, was briefed, his spokesman said.

Separately, the Russian defence ministry said it had also successfully thwarted an overnight attack on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, by 25 Ukrainian drones that Moscow said it had either shot down or forced to crash. Nobody had been hurt and no damage was caused in the Crimea, it added.

Ukrainian officials did not acknowledge the attacks but Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address: “Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia – to its symbolic centres and military bases, and this is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process.”

“Ukraine is getting stronger,” he added.

A Ukrainian air force spokesman also did not claim responsibility but said the Russian people were seeing the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“All of the people who think the war ‘doesn’t concern them’ – it’s already touching them,” spokesperson Yurii Ihnat told journalists.

“There’s already a certain mood in Russia: that something is flying in, and loudly,” he said. “There’s no discussion of peace or calm in the Russian interior any more. They got what they wanted.”

The attack was the fourth such attempt at a strike on Moscow this month and the third this week, heightening concerns about the capital’s vulnerability to attacks as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags into its 18th month.

It also comes several weeks into a Ukrainian counteroffensive to take back territory of the country captured by Russia since Moscow launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Russia’s foreign ministry has said such attacks “would not be possible without the help provided to the Kyiv regime by the United States and its NATO allies”.

On the other side of the border, Ukrainian authorities said at least two civilians were killed and five others wounded in a Russian missile attack on the northeastern city of Sumy.

“On the evening of July 29, an enemy missile hit an educational institution. Law enforcement officers are working at the scene, recording the effects,” the national police forces said on Telegram.

According to public broadcaster Suspilne, the building was destroyed in an explosion at about 8:00pm local time (17:00 GMT).

Source: News Agencies