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The unmanned air strikes came hours after a Ukrainian commander vowed to avenge the latest of a string of Russian air raids on Kyiv.

Russia accuses Ukraine of launching drone blitz on Moscow

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to Tuesday’s drone attacks on the capital Moscow, accusing Ukraine of trying to frighten Russians.

He said civilians were targeted, but air defences dealt satisfactorily with the threat.

The defence ministry said at least eight drones caused minor damage, but Kyiv has denied responsibility.

This is the first time the city has been targeted by multiple drones since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said no-one was seriously injured. Several drones fell on an exclusive western suburb where senior officials live.

Speaking on Russian TV, Mr Putin said the attack had been a response to what he described as a Russian attack on Ukraine’s military intelligence HQ in recent days.

“In response to this, the Kyiv regime chose a different path – the path of attempts to intimidate Russia, to intimidate Russia’s citizens, and of air strikes against residential buildings,” he said.

“This is obviously a sign of terrorist activity.”

“They are provoking us into responding in kind,” he added.

Russia’s foreign ministry said Western support for Kyiv was “pushing the Ukrainian leadership towards ever more reckless criminal deeds including acts of terrorism”.

But the US state department repeated Washington’s position that it did not support attacks inside Russia, adding that it was still gathering information on the drone strikes.

The strikes on Moscow followed an overnight drone attack on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv in which at least one person was reported killed.

Ukrainian officials said falling debris set buildings on fire as Ukraine’s air defences intercepted more than 20 drones.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defence ministry said all eight drones targeting Moscow had been intercepted.

“Three of them were suppressed by electronic warfare, lost control and deviated from their intended targets. Another five drones were shot down by the Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile system in the Moscow region,” the ministry said.

The aerial assaults struck some of Moscow’s most prominent neighbourhoods. Areas hit include Leninsky Prospekt, a grand boulevard created under Josef Stalin.

A suburb of western Moscow where Mr Putin has a residence, along with other members of the Russian elite, was also hit.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that Kyiv was not directly involved, but that Ukraine had enjoyed watching events unfold and predicted an increase in such incidents.

Mr Putin said that while Moscow’s air defences had responded successfully they still needed “bit of work” and had to be made “more dense”.

One former military officer said the attacks came as a complete surprise to Muscovites.

There were no warning signals alerting that an aerial attack would happen, said Viktor Sobolev, talking to Federal Press.

Russia’s radar was unable to detect the drones and trigger the air raid alarm because they were flying very low, he explained. He added that Russia should create systems that can see drones at very low altitudes.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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