Russia says it downed 3 drones near Moscow, suspects Ukrainian attack

Ukraine, which usually doesn't confirm attacks on Russian soil, made no immediate comment about the downed drones.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Posted at 8:17 AM, Jun 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-21 08:17:12-04

Two drones were brought down outside Moscow as they approached the warehouses of a local military unit, Moscow region Gov. Andrei Vorobyov said Wednesday, in what could be the latest attempt by Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia during the early stages of Kyiv's most recent counteroffensive.

They came down near the village of Lukino, administratively part of the city of Moscow, Russian media reported. The wreckage of a third drone was reportedly found about 12 miles away. No damage or casualties were reported.

Russia's Defense Ministry claimed it was "an unsuccessful attempt at a terrorist attack" by "the Kyiv regime" on its facilities in the Moscow region, adding in a statement that all three drones were brought down by electronic jamming.

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Ukraine, which usually doesn't confirm attacks on Russian soil, made no immediate comment about the downed drones. Previously, Ukrainian officials have emphasized the country's right to strike any target in response to Russia's invasion and war that started in February 2022.

In December, Moscow claimed it had shot down drones that targeted military air bases in the Saratov and Ryazan regions in western Russia.

Other drones have reportedly flown deep into Russia multiple times. Since February, when a UJ-22 crashed 60 miles from Moscow, Ukrainian drones have repeatedly approached the Russian capital.

Last month, a drone attack jolted the Russian capital, though it caused only slight damage, in what appeared to be one of Kyiv's deepest and most daring strikes into Russia. It was the second reported strike on Moscow that month after Russian authorities said two drones targeted the Kremlin.

At that time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow's air defense "worked in a satisfactory way," but added it was "clear what we need to do to plug the gaps" in the system.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, confirming Wednesday's drone attack, said only that "the means of combatting drones did their job."

Ukraine forces watch an attack on a Ukrainian complex.

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Meanwhile, train traffic was disrupted on the Crimean Peninsula on Wednesday, according to its Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov.

Aksyonov didn't say what caused the disruption, but some Russian media outlets reported that the rail lines were blown up overnight in apparent sabotage operations. Rail lines through Crimea are crucial for supplying Russian forces at the front line in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move that most of the world considers illegal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that his country aims to reclaim the peninsula in a counteroffensive that began in recent weeks.

In response to Ukraine's military threat using advanced weapons supplied by Western allies, Russia has in recent weeks expended "significant effort" on assembling "elaborate" defensive lines on the approaches to Crimea, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry.

For the Kremlin, ensuring control of Crimea is "a top political priority," the ministry said in a tweet Wednesday. There is "intense fighting" in parts of southern Ukraine where Kyiv's forces are testing Russian defenses, it added.