Russia Accuses U.S. of Involvement in Apparent Kremlin Drone Attack

Russia blamed the United States on Thursday for the apparent drone attack on the Kremlin, doubling down on accusing Washington of “direct involvement” in the war in Ukraine. The Kremlin’s spokesman alleged, without providing evidence, that the United States “dictated” Ukrainian strikes inside Russia — a charge a top U.S. official vehemently denied.

Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin, repeatedly told reporters in a daily conference call that the United States was behind the episode at the Kremlin. Video footage verified by The New York Times showed two explosions over the Kremlin early Wednesday, an incident that Russia described as a Ukrainian drone attack on Mr. Putin’s Kremlin residence. Ukraine has denied involvement.

“We know well that the decisions about such actions and such terrorist acts are made not in Kyiv, but in Washington,” Mr. Peskov said. “Kyiv then does what it’s told.”

The White House quickly rejected Mr. Peskov’s accusations. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday morning, John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, brought up the Kremlin’s accusation and said that “Peskov is just lying there, pure and simple.”

“We’ve been clear with them publicly and we’ve been clear privately that we do not encourage, nor do we enable, them to strike outside Ukraine,” Mr. Kirby said, referring to Ukrainian officials. “I can assure you that there was no involvement by the United States in this.”

Leaked secret Pentagon documents show that while the American military is indeed providing battlefield targeting data to Ukraine, American officials have worked to dissuade Ukraine from potentially provocative strikes on Moscow. And American officials admonished Ukraine over the killing in August of Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian ultranationalist, which American intelligence agencies believed was authorized by parts of the Ukrainian government.

Mr. Kirby said on MSNBC that the United States had not determined who was behind Wednesday’s incident, and that “we still don’t really know what happened.”

But Mr. Peskov insisted on Thursday that Ukraine’s denial of involvement in Wednesday’s incident at the Kremlin, and the American denial that it had advance knowledge of it, were “absolutely laughable.” Last month, Mr. Putin claimed, also without providing evidence, that “Western intelligence agencies” were helping Ukraine commit “terrorist acts” inside Russia.

“We know this well,” Mr. Peskov said on Thursday, after asserting that the United States was telling Ukraine where to strike. “It’s very important that they understand in Washington that we know this, and that they understand how dangerous such direct involvement in the conflict is.”

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