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Moscow bombed by drones in apparent Ukrainian counter-attack

By Sarah May on
 May 31, 2023

In an incident that marked the first instance in which residential parts of Moscow have been attacked since the start of Russia's war with Ukraine, drone missions in the capital inflicted damage to buildings and forced the evacuations of civilian homes, as NBC News reports.

Officials from the Russian Defense Ministry indicated that there were eight aerial craft involved in what many believe was a form of retaliation for a recent bombardment launched against civilians in Kyiv.

“Minor Damage” Sustained

Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow's mayor, stated in a post on the Telegram messaging app that the aforementioned drone attacks produced “minor damage to several buildings.”

Sobyanin added that no serious injuries were sustained, though two individuals did seek medical attention in the aftermath of the incursion.

The mayor further noted that evacuations of residents from impacted buildings were initiated “for safety reasons” as first responders surveyed the structures.

Though a prior drone attack targeting the Kremlin was reported to have occurred earlier this month, Moscow had largely remained untouched by any aggressive manifestations of the conflict in Ukraine until the events of Tuesday.

Prighozin Rages

Despite the reportedly minimal practical effect of the drone attacks, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner mercenary force assisting Russia in its campaign in Ukraine, was far from pleased by what occurred, as the Daily Mail reports.

Prigozhin was seen in an expletive-laden video rant blasting the Kremlin's leadership following the drone strikes in Moscow, taking particular aim at the country's air defense capabilities.

“And what should ordinary people do when drones with explosives crash into their windows?” Prigozhin asked, adding, “I am deeply outraged that these scum sit quietly with their fat a**es smeared with expensive creams.”

Further slamming Putin and his Kremlin cohort, Prigozhin noted, “But I have already warned about this many times, but no one wants to listen. Because I'm angry, and I upset bureaucrats who have a great life.”

Putin Reacts

For his part, Putin pointed his finger at Ukraine for endeavoring to “frighten” the Russian citizenry with “increasingly reckless behavior,” as the Mail noted.

Perhaps responding to Prigozhin's criticism in part, Putin added, “Moscow's air defense system worked normally, satisfactorily, although there is some work to do.”

Seemingly minimizing the overall effect of the drone strikes and what they might reveal about his country's air defense capabilities, Putin said, “I am not so much worried about that as the attempts to get a response from Russia. That appears to be the goal. They provoke a mirror response from us.”

“We will see what we will do about that,” Putin concluded cryptically.

Ukraine Denies

An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied that Kyiv had any involvement in the Moscow drone strikes, but that is not to say that officials in the country were not taking some measure of satisfaction in their occurrence.

Mykhailo Podolyak explained, “Of course we are pleased to watch and predict an increase in the number of attacks. But of course, we have nothing directly to do with this.”

Correspondent Gulliver Cragg of France 24 reported, “Everybody who's commenting, whether it's officials or just ordinary people, [seems] to think that it's quite nice to see the Russians getting a little bit of a taste of their own medicine.”

Cragg added that Ukrainian leaders are adopting “a somewhat tongue-in-cheek attitude, suggesting that they're probably coordinated at the very least” with groups hostile to Putin such as the Free Russian Legion, but whether a strategy of attacks such as those that took place on Tuesday makes sense militarily in the long run very much remains an open question.