Two Ukrainian combat drones headed for Moscow were shot down, Russian officials said on Wednesday, the latest in a surge of drone attacks targeting the capital.
The attempted attack comes a day after the death toll from strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk rose to nine.
“Two combat drones’ attempt to fly into the city was recorded. Both were shot down by air defence,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram.
He said one drone was downed in the Domodedovo area on the southern outskirts of the city, while the second was shot down in the Minsk highway area, west of the capital.
He said emergency services were on the ground.
Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine attempted the attack using unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Air defence destroyed two UAVs,” the ministry said, adding there were no reported casualties or damage.
The strikes are at least the third attack near Moscow within a week, with Ukrainian drones downed on Sunday, in the Podolsky district on the capital’s outskirts, and Monday, near the Kaluga region, according to Russian officials.
Until a series of attacks in recent months, the Russian capital had not been targeted during the conflict in Ukraine, which started more than a year ago.
Russia’s defence ministry said Thursday it had downed seven drones — also near Kaluga, which is less than 200 kilometres (124 miles) southwest of Moscow.
On July 30, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that “war” was coming to Russia, with the country’s “symbolic centres and military bases” becoming targets.
An office block in the capital’s main business district was recently struck twice within days by debris from a downed drone attack.
The drones shot down near Moscow’s Domodedovo and Minsk highway come a day after Russia claimed a missile attack that it said targeted a Ukrainian army command post in the eastern city of Pokrovsk.
Two missiles — launched 40 minutes apart — damaged residential buildings, a hotel, cafes, shops and administrative buildings.
At least nine people were killed in the attack and 82 were wounded, including two children, Zelensky said Tuesday.
The Russian claim to be targeting a command post was an “absolute lie”, Sergiy Cherevaty, the spokesman for Ukraine’s operational command east, told AFP.
“This is the third or fourth time they (the Russians) say they destroyed it,” Cherevaty said.
Pokrovsk sits just 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the eastern front line, where Moscow says it is gaining ground and repelling Ukrainian attacks.