Downed 2 drones outside Moscow, says Russia, blames Ukraine for planning attack

Two drones were brought down outside Moscow as they approached the warehouses of a local military unit, Russian authorities said Wednesday, in what could be the latest attempt by Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia during the early stages of Kyiv’s most recent counteroffensive.

The drones came down near the village of Lukino, administratively part of the city of Moscow, Russian media reported. The wreckage of a third drone was reportedly found about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away. No damage or casualties were reported.

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed it was “an unsuccessful attempt at a terrorist attack” by “the Kyiv regime” on its facilities in the Moscow region, adding in a statement that all three drones were brought down by electronic jamming.

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Ukraine, which doesn’t usually confirm attacks on Russian soil, made no immediate comment. Previously, Ukrainian officials have emphasized the country’s right to strike any target in response to Russia’s invasion and war that started in February 2022.

Last month, two drone attacks jolted the Russian capital, in what appeared to be Kyiv’s deepest and most daring strikes into Russia. The first one, on May 3, targeted the Kremlin itself but the Russian authorities announced the devices were shot down before they could do any damage. The second one, on May 30, brought the war home to Muscovites, although the actual damage was minimal.

At the time of the attack on the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow’s air defense “worked in a satisfactory way,” but added it was “clear what we need to do to plug the gaps” in the system.

Other drones have reportedly flown deep into Russia multiple times. Since February, when a UJ-22 crashed 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Moscow, Ukrainian drones have repeatedly approached the Russian capital.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, confirming Wednesday’s drone attack, said only that “the means of combatting drones did their job.”

Meanwhile, train traffic was disrupted on the Crimean Peninsula on Wednesday, according to its Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov.

Aksyonov didn’t say what caused the disruption, but some Russian media outlets reported that the rail lines were blown up overnight in apparent sabotage operations. Rail lines through Crimea are crucial for supplying Russian forces at the front line in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move that most of the world considers illegal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that his country aims to reclaim the peninsula in a counteroffensive that began in recent weeks.

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In response to Ukraine’s military threat using advanced weapons supplied by Western allies, Russia has in recent weeks expended “significant effort” on assembling “elaborate” defensive lines on the approaches to Crimea, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry.

For the Kremlin, ensuring control of Crimea is “a top political priority,” the ministry said in a tweet Wednesday. There is “intense fighting” in parts of southern Ukraine where Kyiv’s forces are testing Russian defenses, it added.

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