1 hurt, airport shut as Moscow thwarts 4th drone attack in a month

   An official inspects debris at the site of a damaged building following a reported drone attack in Moscow, Russia, July 30, 2023. (EPA Photo)


At least one person was injured and traffic at a Moscow airport was temporarily closed early Sunday when three Ukrainian drones attacked the Russian capital, local authorities said.

It was the fourth such attempt at a strike on the capital region this month and the third this week, fueling concerns about Moscow’s vulnerability to attacks as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags into its 18th month.

One was shot down in the surrounding Moscow region by air defense systems and two others were jammed. Those two crashed into the Moscow City business district.

Photos from the site of the crash showed the facade of a skyscraper damaged on one floor. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the attack “insignificantly damaged” the outsides of two buildings in the Moscow City district. A security guard was injured, Russia’s state news agency Tass reported, citing emergency officials.

No flights went into or out of Vnukovo airport on the southern outskirts of the city for about an hour, according to Tass, and the airspace over Moscow and the outlying regions was temporarily closed to all aircraft. Those restrictions have since been lifted.

Moscow authorities have also closed a street to traffic near the site of the crash in the Moscow City area.

There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials, who rarely if ever take responsibility for attacks on Russian soil.

The attack follows a night of reported drone skirmishes between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow announced Sunday that it had foiled a Ukrainian attack on Russian-annexed Crimea, shooting down 16 drones and neutralizing eight more with an electronic jamming system. There were no casualties, officials said.

The Ukrainian air force reported that it had destroyed four Russian drones above the country’s Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk regions. Information on the attacks could not be independently verified.

Meanwhile, two people were killed and 20 wounded by a Russian missile strike late Saturday evening on the city of Sumy in northeast Ukraine. A four-story building belonging to a vocational college was hit, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said. Local authorities said that dormitories and teaching buildings were damaged in the blast and the fire that followed.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported shooting down a Ukrainian drone outside Moscow on Friday. Four days earlier, two drones struck the Russian capital, one of them falling in the center of the city near the Defense Ministry’s headquarters along the Moscow River about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the Kremlin. The other drone hit an office building in southern Moscow, gutting several upper floors.

In another attack on July 4, the Russian military said four drones were downed by air defenses on the outskirts of Moscow and a fifth was jammed by electronic warfare means and forced down.


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