Moscow was struck by several drone strikes early Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said, hours after Kyiv suffered a fresh wave of attacks earlier in the day.
The Russian ministry said all drones had been intercepted and added: "This morning the Kyiv regime carried out a terrorist attack with drones on targets in the city of Moscow."
When asked about the strikes at an event hosted by a Kremlin-allied think tank later in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine chose "to intimidate Russian citizens and strikes at civilian buildings." "It is, of course, a clear indication of terrorist activity," he added.
No deaths reported
Eight drones targeted the city, according to the ministry, which said there had been no deaths.
Moscow's mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said two people sought medical assistance following the strikes.
Russia's Investigate Committee said some of the drones crashed into residential buildings but didn't cause much damage. The Committee — in charge of investigating major crimes — said it was looking into the strike.
"This morning, at dawn, a drone attack caused minor damage to several buildings. All the city's emergency services are on the scene... No one has been seriously injured so far," Sobyanin said.
Andrei Vorobyov, the governor of the wider Moscow region, said "residents of certain districts in the Moscow region could hear explosions, it was our anti-air missile defense system," he wrote.
"Several drones were shot down while approaching Moscow," Vorobyov said. It remains unclear who was behind the strikes.
Ukraine denies involvement
Hours earlier, the Ukrainian capital Kyiv suffered air strikes in the early hours of Tuesday leaving one person dead. Debris from drones also set an apartment building on fire.
Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, appeared on television shortly after, asking "If the Russians can make Kyiv a nightmare, why do the people of Moscow rest?"
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told the Ukrainian "Breakfast Show" YouTube channel regarding the attacks: "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."
This was the second attack on Moscow reported this month.
Russian authorities said two drones targeted the Kremlin earlier this month. Russia blamed Kyiv for the attack, saying it was an assassination attempt on Putin. Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied his country was behind the attack.
Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Monday that Ukraine had set a date for its counteroffensive, but provided no details.
Getting the truth 'very difficult' — expert
The done attacks could be a "false flag operation, meaning that Russian intelligence services" were "most likely" responsible, Marina Miron, a senior fellow in War Studies at King's College London, told DW.
In turn, this would enhance grievances among the unknowing Russian public, justifying the war in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, there are alternative possibilities, as Miron explained: "We have also heard the statement by the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, talking about a response from Ukraine to the recent drone attacks on Kyiv."
Getting "clarity" on the developments, though, will be "very difficult" as both sides will have "a narrative" to push, Miron added.
jsi,rm/kb (Reuters, AFP)