By Associated Press
Ukraine was accused by Russia of launching a drone attack on Moscow early Monday, in which one of the aircraft fell near the Defense Ministry’s main headquarters and struck Crimea, while Russian military forces attacked south Ukrainian port infrastructure.
Two nonresidential buildings were struck by drones, but no one was injured, according to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
According to the Defense Ministry, both attacking drones crashed after being jammed by the military.
One of the drones reportedly fell on the Komsomolsky highway near Moscow’s center, shattering shop windows and damaging the roof of a house just over 200 yards from the towering Defense Ministry building.
On the roof of the ministry’s main headquarters are Pantsyr air defense systems.
Whether the drone targeted the Defense Ministry’s headquarters, located 1.7 miles from the Kremlin, or some other target in central Moscow was unclear.
In another drone strike in southern Moscow, several upper floors were gutted, causing more visible damage than earlier drone strikes.
On highways where drones fell, traffic was halted while emergency workers examined the damage.
In this month’s second drone attack on the Russian capital, Ukrainian authorities didn’t immediately claim responsibility.
According to the Russian military, four of the five drones were downed by air defenses on the outskirts of Moscow, and the fifth was jammed by electronic warfare means.
In response to the raid, Moscow’s Vnukovo airport was temporarily closed and flights were diverted to two other airports in the city.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, drone attacks against our regions have increased.
“So we are taking measures, we are working very hard 24 hours a day,” Peskov said, without providing any details about whether Russian air defence systems have been strengthened.
As a result of a second Ukrainian drone attack early Monday, traffic was halted on major highways and railways crossing the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow illegally annexed in 2014.
Several hours later, railway traffic was restored.
Sergei Aksyonov, the Moscow-appointed head of Crimea, said authorities ordered evacuations of several villages within three miles of the depot.
While Aksyonov claimed the military shot down or jammed 11 attacking drones, the Defense Ministry later said 11 were jammed and crashed into the Black Sea, and another three were shot down.
On his messaging app channel, Ukraine’s digital transformation minister Mykhailo Fedorov noted that Monday’s drone attacks on Moscow and Crimea indicated that Russian electronic warfare methods and air defenses are not able to protect its skies from invaders, adding “there will be more of them.”
Ukraine’s military intelligence carried out the drone attack on Moscow, according to Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.
Drones struck another ammunition depot in Crimea on Saturday, sending huge plumes of black smoke into the sky and forcing residents to evacuate,
Ukrainian officials say that Russian forces struck port infrastructure on the Danube River with exploding drones early Monday, wounding seven people and destroying grain hangars and other cargo storage facilities.
Three drones attacking Ukraine were downed by the Ukrainian military.
In the past week, a barrage of attacks have damaged critical port infrastructure in southern Ukraine.
The Kremlin describes the strikes as retribution for last week’s Ukrainian attack on the Kerch Bridge.
Over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke via video link at the Aspen Security Forum, noting that Russia uses the bridge to ferry military supplies.
Russia has repeatedly attacked Odesa, a key grain export hub, since Moscow cancelled a landmark grain deal a week ago.
An attack on Odesa on Sunday severely damaged 25 landmarks across the city, including the Transfiguration Cathedral, killing one person and wounding 22 others.
According to UNESCO, a mission will be sent to assess damage to the cathedral and other heritage sites in the coming days.
UNESCO declared Odesa’s historic center a World Heritage site earlier this year, and the attacks contradict Moscow’s pledge to spare Ukrainian World Heritage sites.
The Russian military denied targeting the Transfiguration Cathedral, claiming that it was likely struck by Ukrainian air defense missiles.
According to Peskov, the accusations against Russia are “absolutely false” without any evidence.
According to Ukrainian officials, 10 people have been wounded in Russian attacks on Ukraine over the past 24 hours.
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