Russian authorities reported several drone attacks on the capital Moscow
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
Some developing news overnight in Russia where officials there say Ukrainian drones attacked Moscow.
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
The defense ministry says eight drones were fired at the capital in what it called a terrorist attack by what it called the Kyiv regime, and that all eight were intercepted. Meanwhile, Russia carried out another wave of air attacks on the Ukrainian capital this morning after launching some of its biggest strikes of the war yesterday and over the weekend.
FADEL: Joining us now from Moscow with the latest is NPR's Charles Maynes. Hi, Charles.
CHARLES MAYNES, BYLINE: Good morning.
FADEL: Good morning. So what do we know about these drone attacks?
MAYNES: Well, you know, as you noted, the defense ministry says eight drones were spotted over the city and its surrounding areas earlier this morning, even as media reports have that number much higher - nearly three times as high. Whatever the case, it seems some drones were intercepted by air defense systems. There's online witness video that NPR can't confirm but appear to show a Russian anti-aircraft fire destroying two drones mid-flight. Several other drones apparently got caught in trees and telephone wires as they approached the city. And then Moscow officials say at least three hit residential buildings. Now, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin says no one was seriously injured and - although, he's evacuated the buildings in question and cleanup crews are picking up debris and assessing what appears to be fairly minor damage. Meanwhile, Russia's investigative committee says its investigators are also out collecting evidence.
FADEL: Now, let's talk about the timing here. It does come a day after massive Russian strikes against Kyiv, right?
MAYNES: Yeah, that's right. You know, Kyiv has denied any direct involvement in the attack, but many here, of course, will obviously blame Ukraine. That's already the conclusion of Russia's defense ministry. As you've noted, they say this is a terrorist attack by Ukraine. Now, keep in mind, this follows weeks of renewed Russian air strikes on Ukraine's capital, including a Russian drone attack on Kyiv early this morning that Ukrainian officials say left at least one person dead. And finally, let's remember, this isn't the first attack on Moscow. Earlier this month, the Kremlin was targeted by a drone attack in what U.S. intelligence later assessed was likely carried out by Ukraine, even if Kyiv denies it.
FADEL: And has Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, weighed in on these attacks?
MAYNES: Not yet. You know, we'll see what President Putin or his spokesman has to say later today, I assume. But in general, you know, Putin's been relatively quiet of late when it comes to the war in Ukraine. There was a statement to the Kremlin website earlier this month where he paid tribute to Russian fighters involved in what Moscow says was an important victory in the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut. But Putin said nothing, for example, about a large-scale incursion by Ukrainian-aligned fighters into the Belgorod region of Russia that borders Ukraine. That happened last week.
And that incident, along with a series of unexplained attacks on Russian infrastructure - oil refineries, railway lines - you know, that's all created this growing sense of uncertainty, I think, over the government's ability to protect the homeland, particularly as Ukraine prepares for its long-rumored counteroffensive. You know, and while those drones at the capital this morning, whoever was responsible will play to those same fears, I'm sure some here may also see it as an opportunity - you know, an opportunity to gin up Russian anger and possibly, through that anger, support to continue the war at all costs.
FADEL: NPR's Charles Maynes in Moscow reporting on the drone attacks over Moscow there. Thank you so much for your time.
MAYNES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.