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Drones Strike Moscow as Conflict Escalates Between Ukraine and Russia

Several apartment buildings and residential areas in Moscow were targeted by at least eight drones, signaling an intensification of the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attributed the attacks to Ukraine, downplaying their significance by stating that he was not overly concerned and suggesting they were an attempt to provoke a response from Russia.

It remains unclear whether the drones hit their intended targets or if they crashed or were shot down by Russian forces. The Russian defense ministry claimed to have successfully jammed or intercepted all eight aircraft.

This assault marks a notable shift for Russia, which had previously remained relatively unaffected by the conflict, as its forces continued to launch cruise missiles and employ Iranian-made drones against Ukrainian cities.

While Ukrainian officials have not claimed responsibility for the blitz, evidence recovered from the attacks aligns with drones previously employed by Ukraine in strikes within Russia. The Ukraine Weapons Tracker, an organization that monitors armaments used in the conflict, observed striking similarities between the drone wreckage found at the impact sites and those used by Ukraine in previous attacks in Tula and against a Russian oil refinery in Krasnodar.

These incidents occur amidst a backdrop of increasing cross-border strikes by Kyiv's forces into Russian territory. In late 2022, Ukraine's military targeted Russia's Engels airbase using upgraded Tu-141 Strizh target drones, which had been retained in their arsenals since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In early May, two small drones armed with explosives managed to breach Moscow's air defenses and attacked the Kremlin, causing damage to a flagpole atop the Kremlin senate building. Russian officials swiftly attributed the assault to an assassination attempt against Putin, placing blame on the United States. However, American intelligence sources later disclosed to The New York Times that intercepted communications indicated the likely involvement of Ukrainian military intelligence in the attacks.

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