Russian authorities said that they destroyed two attack drones targeting Moscow on Monday morning in what they called a strike by Ukrainian forces. No one was injured, they said. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.
Russian forces took down two drones, the Russia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Telegram, a few hours after reports of explosions and fires near the southern part of Moscow.
The authorities closed off part of the Komsomolsky Prospect, an avenue that runs through central Moscow, and were investigating a drone found there shortly before 4 a.m. local time, according to Tass, a state-run news media. Videos verified by The New York Times show damage in at least two locations near the Moskva River in the southern part of the city.
Smoke was visibly rising from the top floors of a high-rise building in a complex for Leroy Merlin, a French home improvement store. Other footage shows damage to several structures along Komsomolskiy Prospect — which is close to the Russian defense ministry — including the building of the Military University and the Central Military Band, a performance group of the Russian Armed Forces. It was not possible to determine from the visuals whether drones caused the damage.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, the fighting has been concentrated on the front lines in eastern Ukraine. Russia has fired missiles and drones at cities across Ukraine nearly every day while Russian cities, including Moscow, have been spared the violence of the war. But in May, the relative safety of Moscow was shattered when the full first-scale drone attacks were launched on the capital, which is nearly 800 kilometers from the border with Ukraine and even farther from the front lines.
Ukraine has maintained a policy of not commenting on any attacks inside Russia that appear to be linked to its military or its supporters, arguing that the silence allows it to maintain the element of surprise and military advantage. But on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky promised to retaliate against Russia after a week of deadly strikes on Odesa that targeted civilians, infrastructure and port facilities crucial to exporting grains. Ukraine has started to publicly take credit for attacks in Crimea, the peninsula that Russia illegally annexed in 2014, arguing that the attacks are happening inside Ukrainian territory.
Shawn Paik contributed reporting.