Moscow foils Ukrainian drone attack, claims 'improved' frontline position

AFP , Friday 11 Aug 2023

Russia said Friday it had destroyed a Ukrainian drone over the western outskirts of Moscow, the latest in a growing number of aerial attacks on the capital and its forces had "improved" their offensive positions around two settlements near the town of Kupiansk in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen inside a M109 self-propelled howitzer on the frontline in the Zaporizhzhya region, the site of the heaviest battles with the Russian troops, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023. AP


"An attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack using an unmanned aerial vehicle on a facility in Moscow was thwarted," the Russian defence ministry said, adding there was no damage or casualties as a result of the incident.

Largely spared in the early part of the conflict, the capital has seen a surge in attacks in recent months.

"Drones are flying yet again above Moscow," said Artemy Dusilov, a 21-year-old tech student who biked with a friend to see where the drone had fallen.

"They keep us in fear a bit."

AFP journalists saw police had cordoned off parts of a park in the Karamyshevskaya embankment in the west of Moscow, where debris landed.

The international airport of Vnukovo temporarily introduced restrictions, which were lifted within an hour, state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Friday's attack was the latest in a series of Ukrainian drones targeting Moscow in the past week.

On Thursday, Russia said it downed two drones headed for Moscow, a day after two others were destroyed on approach.

At the start of this month, an office block in the capital's main business district, Moscow City, was struck twice within days by debris from a downed drone strike.

Alexei Benedesyuk, a 54-year-old driver, was standing next to the cordoned-off area, a few hundred metres away from his house.

"It's already happened: Moscow City, and the Kremlin... It will still happen and I think more than once," he said.

While Ukraine's air force said in a statement "One Kh-47 missile was destroyed within the Kyiv region. The rest hit near the airfield. Civilian facilities and infrastructure were hit, and one of the missiles hit a residential area." 

Kupiansk and the surrounding areas of Kharkiv were recaptured by Kyiv's forces in September but Moscow has since pushed back on the region.

The Russian defence ministry said its forces had "improved the tactical situation" on the front line near Vilshana and Pershotravneve.

Separately, it said its forces had struck a temporary base for foreign mercenaries in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, without providing further details.

Kyiv said Russia had struck a hotel in the city on Thursday, killing one person.

The United Nations said its staff and other organisations frequently used the hotel, which they used as a base for their travel to the city.

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