Russia Says Ukrainian Drones Hit Moscow Buildings in Latest Attacks

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had fired at least three drones at Moscow, the latest in a wave of attacks in Russia demonstrating that few places are off limits after more than 17 months of war.

One drone was destroyed in Odintsovo, outside Moscow, the Defense Ministry said, adding that two others struck commercial buildings in the capital after being intercepted by Russian air defenses. There were no injuries, Moscow’s mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, said in a post on the Telegram messaging app, but video footage from Russian state media showed blown-out windows and twisted beams in one of Moscow’s premier skyscrapers.

Ukraine does not typically claim responsibility for attacks in Russia, in an effort to maintain a military advantage and an element of surprise. However, senior Ukrainian officials said last week that recent drone attacks on Moscow were orchestrated by Kyiv.

In his evening address on Sunday, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, did not explicitly mention the strikes in Moscow but noted that “gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia,” including military and “symbolic” centers.

“This is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process,” said Mr. Zelensky, who previously promised “retaliation” after two weeks of nonstop Russian bombardment on Odesa, a city on the Black Sea that is both vital to Ukraine’s economy and of great cultural and historical significance.

Ukraine has also been accused of using drones to attack Russian-occupied Crimea — with Moscow claiming on Sunday that a new wave was launched overnight — and oil facilities and military air bases deep inside Russia.

The attacks in Moscow, though they have become more frequent, have so far caused no deaths. They have also been far less extensive than the drone and missile strikes that Russian forces conduct nightly across Ukraine, often hitting civilian areas.

The first drone attacks on Moscow, on the Kremlin compound, came in early May, an assault that American officials said was most likely carried out by one of Kyiv’s special military or intelligence units. They were followed by attacks at the end of that month on a high-end Moscow neighborhood.

In July, there have been at least three drone attacks on Moscow, some coming within blocks of striking military facilities central to the war effort.

The attacks have upended the assumption of people in Moscow, about 500 miles from Ukraine, that the fighting would never touch them. And they have prompted criticism of President Vladimir V. Putin’s management of the war, which has taken an enormous economic toll on Russia and has cost tens of thousands of soldiers their lives.

The skyscraper complex that sustained damage on Sunday, known as Moscow City, is a symbol of Russia’s economic resurgence under Mr. Putin. Its 89th-floor restaurant with panoramic views of Moscow is a draw for the city’s moneyed elite, while its office space houses government ministries as well as finance and tech companies — including cryptocurrency exchanges linked to the illicit dealings of Russian hackers.

A few hours after Sunday morning’s attack, a Ukrainian Air Force spokesman released a statement that neither accepted nor denied responsibility.

“They got what they wanted,” the spokesman, Yuri Ihnat, said on national television. “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.”

Late Sunday, Russian officials said a Ukrainian drone had crashed far closer to the front lines, in the southwestern Rostov region, near where Russia claimed to have shot down two missiles last week.

The regional governor, Vasily Golubev, wrote on Telegram that the drone had damaged a car and the roof of a house in Daraganovka, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. The town is just outside Taganrog, a port city on the Sea of Azov about 80 miles from the front lines. Russian officials said a downed Ukrainian missile injured at least nine people in Taganrog on Friday.

Hours earlier, Mr. Putin attended an annual Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, the northern harbor city where the Russian president has in recent days hosted African leaders for a summit. Mr. Putin toured the naval parade on a speedboat on the Neva River, accompanied by his defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, who had just returned from a rare visit to North Korea.

Several African leaders in town for the summit, including Burkina Faso’s Capt. Ibrahim Traoré, who seized power in a coup last year, also attended the parade.

In a speech, Mr. Putin, as he frequently does, compared the Russian naval forces involved in the invasion of Ukraine with their predecessors who helped defeat the Nazis in World War II.

“In the name of Russia, our seamen are giving all their strength, showing true heroism, fighting with honor, as our great forefathers,” Mr. Putin said.

Ukraine has recently claimed responsibility for a series of bold attacks last year and was accused last week by Moscow of firing missiles into Russia, potentially signaling a more aggressive Ukrainian effort to expand the war.

These attacks come while Ukraine is intensifying its efforts in the south as part of its counteroffensive, using newly trained soldiers and new weapons — provided by the United States and Europe — to push past Russian soldiers who have spent months building a well-fortified defense. The campaign, which has been slow, has also included more consistent drone and missile strikes in Crimea, which is crucial to Russia’s war efforts and which it illegally annexed in 2014, to try to destroy weapons, ammunition and fuel supplies.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a separate statement early Sunday that it had intercepted 25 Ukrainian drones targeting Crimea overnight. The claim could not be independently verified.

At the same time, Ukraine’s Air Force said that Russia had launched four attack drones overnight at the Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk regions of southern Ukraine. It said in a post on Telegram early Sunday that all of the drones had been intercepted. Those claims also could not be independently verified.

In the north of the country, two people were killed and 20 others were wounded when a Russian missile hit a building on Saturday in Sumy, the City Council said in a statement.

Matthew Mpoke Bigg contributed reporting.

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