Moscow region hit in sixth straight night of drone attacks

AFP , Wednesday 23 Aug 2023

A Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow damaged a building in a central business district, authorities said on Wednesday, in the sixth straight night of aerial attacks on Russia's capital region.

Law enforcement officers stand next to a damaged building of the Moscow International Business Center (Moskva City) following a drone attack in Moscow on August 23, 2023. AFP


Russia and Ukraine have hit each other's cities with barrages of drones during the conflict, now bogged down as Ukraine's troops fight a grinding counteroffensive.

The latest assault on Moscow comes after Ukrainian authorities said Russian artillery hit two villages near the eastern Ukraine city of Lyman, killing three people and wounding two others.

The Moscow region, hundreds of kilometres from the front line, has been repeatedly targeted in recent weeks, although there have been no reports of major damage.

Air defences downed one Ukrainian drone in Mozhaisky district and one in Khimki district of Moscow region, Russia's defence ministry said in a statement.

A third drone crashed into a building in the Moscow City business district around five kilometres (three miles) from the Kremlin after being "suppressed" by air defences, it said.

Air traffic at Moscow's Vnukovo, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports was briefly halted, the TASS state news agency reported, citing the aviation services.

AFP images showed emergency services vehicles lined up along a street below a cluster of brightly-lit skyscrapers.

One window on a multi-storey building had been blown out and black scorch marks surrounded its frame.

Emergency services were inspecting the area in the business district, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram.

"Several windows were smashed in two adjacent five-storey buildings," he said.

Sobyanin and the defence ministry said there were no reports of casualties.

In Khimki district, the wreckage of a downed drone had partially collapsed the roof of a private house and damaged a non-residential building, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

There were no casualties, it reported.

In recent weeks two other drone attacks were repelled over Moscow's financial district, each causing minor damage to the facades of high-rise buildings.

In May, drones were shot down near the Kremlin.

Air and sea 

Russia and Ukraine have also ramped up attacks in the Black Sea since the July collapse of a UN-brokered deal which aimed to ensure safe navigation for civilian grain shipments from Ukraine ports.

A Russian drone hit and damaged grain infrastructure in Ukraine's southern Odesa region on Wednesday, according to local authorities, who reported no civilian casualties.

Moscow said on Tuesday it had destroyed two Ukrainian military boats in the strategic waterway, including one carrying troops.

Russia also said that it dispatched two fighter jets to intercept two drones over the Black Sea, without specifying which country had deployed them.

The incidents came after the first civilian cargo ship sailing through the Black Sea from Ukraine recently arrived in Istanbul in defiance of the Russian blockade.

Since exiting the deal Moscow has pounded Ukraine's southern Odesa and Mykolaiv regions that are home to ports and infrastructure vital for shipment of grain.

Kyiv has attacked Russian ships in its waters and the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

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