Ukraine war: Overnight drone strike on Moscow injures one, closes airport

Russian authorities say three Ukrainian drones attacked Moscow in the early hours of Sunday, injuring one person and prompting a temporary closure to traffic at one of four airports around the Russian capital.

It was the fourth such attempted strike in the capital region this month and the third this week, raising concerns about Moscow’s vulnerability to attack as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags into its 18th month.

The Russian Defense Ministry referred to the incident as an “attempted terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime” and said three drones were targeting the city. One was shot down in the surrounding Moscow region by air defense systems, and two others were jammed. The two crashed into Moscow City’s business district in the capital.

Images from the scene of the crash showed the facade of a skyscraper damaged on one floor. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the attack “insignificantly damaged” the exterior of two buildings in the Moscow City district. A security guard was injured, Russian state news agency Tass reported, citing emergency officials.

No flights entered or left Vnukovo airport on the southern outskirts of the city for about an hour, according to Tass, and the airspace over Moscow and the outlying regions was temporarily closed to all aircraft. These restrictions have since been lifted.

Moscow authorities have also closed a street to traffic near the crash site in the Moscow City area.

There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials, who rarely if ever claim responsibility for attacks on Russian soil.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that it shot down a Ukrainian drone outside Moscow on Friday. Two more drones hit the Russian capital on Monday, one of them fell in the center of the city near the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense along the Moscow River about 3 kilometers from the Kremlin. The second drone hit an office building in southern Moscow, knocking off several upper floors.

In another attack on July 4, the Russian military said four drones were shot down by the air force on the outskirts of Moscow and a fifth was blocked by electronic warfare and forced down.

Nine injured in Dnipro strike

At least nine people were injured on Friday in a Russian attack on the city of Dnipro in east-central Ukraine, which hit an apartment block and a security service building, according to authorities.

“At the moment we know of nine people injured, including two children,” said Sergiy Kruk of Ukraine’s emergency services, raising the earlier figure of five wounded given by the interior minister.

Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Bakumov pointed out on Telegram that this city of 1 million people had been the target of a Russian “missile attack” before the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky added that the Ukrainian security service building in Dnipro had also been hit by the Russian strike.

“Russian missiles have again spread terror,” he commented on Telegram, vowing to ensure Russia would be “held accountable” and “punished.”

Videos posted on social networks and in the Ukrainian media show the upper floors of a residential complex partially cleaned and smoking, while the yard is littered with debris.

The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Serguiï Lyssak, referred to a fire of 100 square meters in an “administrative building”.

Russia claims Ukrainian attacks on its territory

The Russian Defense Ministry said it shot down a Ukrainian missile in the city of Taganrog, about 40 kilometers east of the border with Ukraine, and local officials reported 20 people were injured, identifying the epicenter as an art museum.

Debris fell on the city, the ministry added, claiming the missile was part of a “terrorist attack” by Ukraine.

Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, blamed Russian air defense systems for the explosion.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it shot down another Ukrainian missile near the city of Azov, which, like Taganrog, is in the Rostov region, and debris fell in an unpopulated area.

Earlier in the day, a Ukrainian drone was shot down outside Moscow, the Defense Ministry said, in the third drone attack or attempt on the capital region this month. The ministry reported no injuries or damage in the latest incident, and it did not provide an exact location where the drone fell.

Zelensky celebrates Ukrainian statehood and visits Bakhmut

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday celebrated his country’s Statehood Day and reaffirmed Ukrainian sovereignty – a rebuke of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who claims Ukraine does not exist as a nation.

“Now, just like more than a thousand years ago, our civilizational choice is unity with the world,” Zelenskyy said in a speech in a square outside St. Michael’s Monastery in Kiev. “To be a power in world history. To have the right to its national history – of its people, its country, its state and our children, all future generations of the Ukrainian people.

“We’ll win for sure!”

He also honored soldiers and issued first passports to young citizens as part of ceremonies. The holiday coincides with the commemoration of the adoption of Christianity in countries that later became Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

This morning, Zelenskyy announced that he had visited special forces positions near the front line in the Bakhmut region of eastern Ukraine, one of the key areas of the current counteroffensive.

“To Bakhmut, forward positions of the special operations forces. Today I am here to congratulate our soldiers on their professional day and pay tribute to their courage,” he wrote on Telegram.

The US believes that Russia is dealing with North Korean weapons

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday that the US believes Russia is trying to secure arms supplies from North Korea to fuel the stalled invasion of Ukraine.

After a rare visit to Pyongyang by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Blinken said Russia was looking for weapons from its allies.

“I highly doubt he’s there on holiday,” Blinken told the Australian press.

“We see that Russia is desperately seeking support, weapons, wherever it can find them, to continue its aggression against Ukraine,” he added.

“We see it with North Korea, we see it with Iran, which has provided Russia with many drones that it uses to destroy civilian infrastructure and kill civilians in Ukraine,” he continued.

During his stay in North Korea, Mr Shoigu met the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in a “friendly” meeting, according to Pyongyang’s state media.

Russia, North Korea’s historic ally, is one of the few countries with which Pyongyang maintains friendly relations.

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