Russia said eight drones targeted civilian areas of Moscow and the Moscow region – with a population of over 21 million – in the early hours of Tuesday but were either shot down or diverted with special electronic jammers.
Putin cast the assault, which brought the 15-month war in Ukraine to the heart of Russia, as a terrorist response that came after Russia struck at Ukraine’s military intelligence headquarters several days ago.
Ukraine, Putin said, had chosen the path of attempting “to intimidate Russia, Russian citizens and attacks on residential buildings”.
“This is clearly a sign of terrorist activity,” he said.
Air defences around Moscow – which as the capital of the world’s biggest nuclear power is already protected by an extensive early warning system – would be strengthened, he said.A Ukrainian presidential aide denied Kyiv was directly involved in the Moscow attack, but said Ukraine was enjoying watching events and forecast more to come.”Of course we are pleased to watch and predict an increase in the number of attacks. But of course we have nothing directly to do with this,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.
There is little sign of peace in one of the deadliest wars in Europe since World War Two, and Moscow has repeatedly warned that the West is escalating the war by supplying Kyiv with so much weaponry.
Drone attacks deep inside Russia have intensified in recent weeks with strikes on oil pipelines and even the Kremlin earlier this month. Ukraine denied the Kremlin attack but The New York Times reported that US intelligence believes Kyiv was responsible. Drone debris hit some of Moscow’s most prestigious areas including Leninsky Prospekt, a grand avenue crafted under Josef Stalin, and the area of western Moscow where the Russian elite – including Putin – have their residences.