Drones hit several buildings in Moscow on Tuesday causing minor damage and forcing some people to evacuate their homes, Russian officials said, while Russia launched another wave of flying bombs on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv killing one person.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the apparent attack on Moscow, which one pro-Kremlin television commentator said, without citing sources, involved about 25 unmanned aircraft.
The incident comes weeks after two drones exploded over the Kremlin – an attack Russia has blamed on Ukraine although Kyiv has denied responsibility – and follows intense Russian drone and missile strikes on Ukrainian cities this month.
Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the Moscow region, said on the Telegram messaging channel that several drones were shot down on their approach to Moscow. Two people sought medical assistance and none were seriously injured, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.
Russia’s RIA state news agency reported that some residents of a building on Profsoyuznaya Street in the city’s south were being evacuated. Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports.
In Kyiv, Ukrainian defense forces said they shot down more than 20 drones during a fresh wave of Russian air strikes on Tuesday.
Kyiv’s military administration said unlike most previous raids, the attack involved only Iranian-made Shahed drones and no missiles.
“A massive attack!” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app. “Do not leave shelters.”
One person died and four were injured when debris from a destroyed Russian projectile hit a high-rise apartment building sparking a fire, Ukrainian officials said.
Two upper floors of the building were destroyed and there could still be people under the rubble, Kyiv’s military administration officials said on the Telegram messaging app.
Photos from Kyiv officials and Reuters witnesses showed flames engulfing the top floors of the building and smoke rising from the roof.
“The attack was massive, came from different directions, in several waves,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration, said on the Telegram.
Debris hit several other districts of the capital including the historic Podil and Pecherskyi neighborhoods. It was not immediately known how many drones Russia launched and there was no immediate comment from Moscow.
Russia has repeatedly attacked the Ukrainian capital in May using a combination of drones and missiles, mostly at night, in an apparent attempt to undermine Ukrainians’ will to fight after more than 15 months of war.
Tuesday’s strikes were Russia’s 17th air assault on the capital this month and came after the city was attacked twice on Monday, including an unusual daytime strike.
“These missile attacks of a fairly dense frequency are aimed specifically at exhausting both our air defence forces and our physical and moral strength,” said Natalya Gumenyuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command.
Ukrainian officials said most of the drones and missiles fired on Sunday and Monday had been shot down and President Volodymyr Zelensky praised US-supplied Patriot anti-missile defenses.
“When Patriots in the hands of Ukrainians ensure a 100% interception rate of any Russian missile, terror will be defeated,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Monday.
The air attacks come as Ukraine prepares a counter-offensive backed with Western weapons to try to drive Russian occupiers out of territory seized since Moscow launched what it calls its “special military operation” in February 2022.
“With these constant attacks, the enemy seeks to keep the civilian population in deep psychological tension,” said Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration.
On the eastern frontlines, Russian paratroops and motorized units were replacing Wagner mercenary units in the eastern city of Bakhmut, according to Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for the eastern group of Ukrainian Forces.
Moscow said it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” its neighbor and protect Russian speakers. Western opponents say the invasion is an imperialist land grab in which tens of thousands have been killed, millions uprooted and cities reduced to ruins.
Russia says it is open to resuming stalled peace talks with Kyiv and has welcomed mediation efforts from Brazil and China.
But a top aide to Zelensky said Kyiv’s peace plan, envisaging the full withdrawal of Russian troops, was the only way to end the war.
“There cannot be a Brazilian peace plan, a Chinese peace plan, a South African peace plan when you are talking about the war in Ukraine,” chief diplomatic adviser Ihor Zhovkva told Reuters.
Another Zelensky aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, wrote on Twitter that any post-war settlement should include a demilitarized zone of 62-75 miles inside Russia along the border.
The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said he believed Russia would not want to negotiate while it was still trying to win the war.