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Investigators inspect the building after a Ukrainian drone damaged an apartment building in Moscow, Russia. Alamy Stock Photo
drone attack

Putin accuses Ukraine of trying to 'frighten' Russia after drones hit Moscow high-rise

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv has faced a relentless wave of strikes by Russia in recent days.

LAST UPDATE | 30 May 2023

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR Putin has accused Ukraine of seeking to “frighten” Russians after drones hit Moscow high-rises in the first such attack since the beginning of the Kremlin’s assault on Ukraine.

As drones struck in and around Moscow, Russian drones targeted Kyiv for a third straight day while Ukraine gears up for a major offensive against Russian forces.

Officials said no one was seriously injured in Moscow and there was only “minor” damage to residential buildings, but some ordinary people said they never thought the Russian capital could be hit in this way.

Putin said that Moscow’s air defence had worked satisfactorily, referring to the attacks as Kyiv’s “response” to a Russian strike on Ukraine’s army intelligence headquarters.

“The Kyiv regime chose a different path to frighten Russians,” Putin said.

in-this-image-taken-from-video-investigators-inspect-the-building-after-a-ukrainian-drone-damaged-an-apartment-building-in-moscow-russia-tuesday-may-30-2023-in-moscow-residents-reported-hearing Investigators inspect the building after a Ukrainian drone damaged an apartment building in Moscow, Russia. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The foreign ministry blamed the West, saying its “support for the Kyiv regime is pushing the Ukrainian leadership towards increasingly reckless acts, including terrorism.”

Daytime attacks

A Ukrainian MP said politicians sheltered underground during an attack on Kyiv during daylight hours today.

Russia launched 11 ballistic and cruise missiles at Kyiv at around 11.30am local time, according to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

kyiv-ukraine-30th-may-2023-people-walk-near-burned-out-cars-damaged-by-fragments-of-a-downed-kamikaze-drone-of-the-russian-army-russia-attacked-the-ukrainian-capital-with-iranian-strike-drones-t Burnt-out cars and damage by shelling in Kyiv Alamy Alamy

All the missiles were shot down, the commander said.

Ukrainian MP Vadym Ivchenko said the attack was launched during a two-hour parliamentary plenary session in Kyiv.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “When we heard the alarm, the members of parliament and everybody go to the basement underground just to be safe.

“Of course, they choose the time exactly when we have a plenary session that is just two hours, and they tried to hit the centre of Kyiv with missiles.”

kyiv-ukraine-30th-may-2023-people-go-near-multi-storey-residential-building-damaged-by-shrapnels-from-a-downed-kamikaze-drone-of-the-russian-army-russia-attacked-the-ukrainian-capital-with-irania Alamy Alamy

Like many residents of Kyiv, Ivchenko has been repeatedly woken during the night in recent weeks by the sound of explosions.

He said: “I just switch on Netflix and spend time until the morning because I can’t sleep because my heart is out of body and I don’t know what to do and how to go to sleep.”

The Kyiv military administration said today’s daytime strike was the 16th attack on the capital since the start of May.

The administration said: “In this way, the enemy changed tactics – after long, exclusively nocturnal attacks, he struck a peaceful city during the day, when most of the residents were at work and on the streets.”

One person was admitted to hospital after the attacks.

‘Reckless acts’

The United States said it did not support attacks inside Russia.

“We have been focused on providing Ukraine with the equipment and training they need to retake their own sovereign territory,” a State Department spokesperson said.

Two drones crashed into high-rise residential buildings in Moscow’s affluent southwest, while a third damaged a residential building in a suburb.

an-investigator-inspects-a-damage-after-a-ukrainian-drone-attacked-an-apartment-building-in-moscow-russia-tuesday-may-30-2023-in-moscow-residents-reported-hearing-explosions-and-mayor-sergei-sob In Moscow, residents reported hearing explosions and Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said there had been a drone attack that caused 'insignificant' damage. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The other drones fell outside Moscow. Some of the debris was found around 15 kilometres from Putin’s Novo-Ogaryovo residence.

One video shared on social media showed an explosion followed by a column of smoke rising into the sky.

This month two drones were intercepted over the Kremlin, but today’s attacks were the first time that unmanned aerial vehicles hit residential areas of Moscow, hundreds of kilometres from the front lines in Ukraine.

The raids are likely to be seen as a major embarrassment for the Kremlin, which has gone to great lengths to say the protracted conflict in Ukraine does not pose a threat to Russians.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Kyiv had “no direct relation” to the attacks.

‘Not surprised’

The residents of buildings damaged in the strikes were briefly evacuated.

On Profsoyuznaya Street, a residential building with a blown-out window was cordoned off by police but the atmosphere was calm, with children playing outside and people walking their dogs, an AFP correspondent said.

Some of the residents were moved to a nearby school, where they drank tea and watched a Soviet-era movie.

Valentin Yemelyanov, a 50-year-old IT worker, who lives on the same street but closer towards the centre of Moscow, said there was “no fear or panic”.

“The damage is minimal,” he told AFP. He said he was “not surprised” by the drone attack, given the escalation of the conflict. “It is obvious that things are going this way.”

Additional reporting by PA

© AFP 2023

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