Friday, 1 Mar 2024

Ukraine brings war to Putin's door with drone attack on Moscow

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Residents in Moscow were woken by a ‘powerful explosion’ after a Ukrainian drone was shot down over the city centre on Friday morning.

Video footage published by Russian media outlets show thick smoke rising next to skyscrapers in the capital.

The country’s defence ministry and city mayor Sergei Sobyanin said there were no injuries after air defences destroyed the UAV.

The Expo Center is a large spread of exhibition pavilions and multi-purpose halls, less than three miles from the Kremlin.

Early reports suggested the drone had come close to the 1,226ft Federation Tower, the Russian capital’s tallest tower, part of the business and residential skyscraper zone previously targeted.

A resident named Maria said: ‘We live in the tower opposite, on the 68th floor. We heard a bang and saw a flash. 

‘At first we thought it had hit the Federation Tower [skyscraper], but it turned out to be the Expocentre. We could see a column of smoke from our windows.’

Another said: ‘We were sitting on the embankment at the time – we didn’t see the drone itself, but we heard a very loud noise, then smoke was billowing from the other side.’

A third resident said: ‘My windows overlooking [the strike] were open. I felt a blast wave – it became hot right in my flat. I’m in shock.’

Air-traffic was briefly suspended at four major airports around the capital – Vnukovo, Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Zhukovsky – though later they reopened.

Russia’s air transport agency said seven flights were redirected to alternative airports.

Russia’s defence ministry said: ‘At about 4am Moscow time, the Kyiv regime launched another terrorist attack using an unmanned aerial vehicle on objects located in Moscow and the Moscow region.’

Drone strikes deep inside Russia have increased since a drone was destroyed over the Kremlin in early May.

Civilian areas of the capital were hit later in May and a Moscow business district was targeted twice in three days earlier this month.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for strikes inside Russia.

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