Russian officials said Ukraine targeted Moscow with two drones early Thursday, the sixth reported attack this month on the capital and the surrounding region, as the unmanned strikes deep inside Russia’s borders appear to take place more frequently.
Both drones were shot down outside Moscow’s city limits, one about 15 miles from the Kremlin and the other about 60 miles away, Russia’s defense ministry said on the Telegram messaging app. There were no injuries or damage, according to the ministry, a claim that could not be independently verified. Moscow’s mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, said the attack took place around 4 a.m.
Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on the attack, as has been their practice on attacks inside Russia. Separately, a few hours before the attack, Ukraine’s military posted a video on its Telegram channel highlighting a training center for drone operators, saying drones were making a difference in breaking through defenses.
The drone attacks on Moscow began in May and their pace has recently picked up, as Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russian troops in Ukraine east and south has ground on. After two attacks in May and one in June, there were four attacks reported in July with mixed results, all of which Russian officials blamed on Ukraine.
With Thursday’s attack, the Moscow capital region has been targeted half a dozen times 10 days into August. As the attacks have increased, Ukrainian officials have become more open in their statements that they view targeting inside Russia as a part of their war effort, while not directly claiming responsibility.
Last month, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine emphasized the importance of what he called the “Ukrainian drone army,” saying its role in the war would grow.
“There will be more good news involving Ukrainian drones. And this is crucial,” he said, without specifically addressing attacks inside Russia.
The New York Times has also documented in a visual investigation that some of Ukraine’s homegrown drone fleet have been used in the recent attacks inside Russia.
The number of drones deployed in attacks in Russia pales in comparison with the numbers Moscow has used to attack Ukraine, killing civilians, and destroying homes and infrastructure. The attacks on Moscow, some of which have hit central parts of the city, have caused relatively minor damage.
Also on Thursday morning, Russia’s defense ministry said 11 Ukrainian drones were destroyed near Sevastopol on the occupied Crimean peninsula. The claim could not immediately be independently verified. Russian officials have previously minimized or masked the impact of past strikes.
In western Ukraine overnight, a Russian drone destroyed an oil depot overnight in the Rivne region, the regional military administration said. There were no casualties reported.