Russia claims Ukraine tried to attack the Kremlin with drones in a “terrorist act” that targeted Vladimir Putin
Moscow — Accused Russian authoritieson Wednesday about an attempt to attack the Kremlin overnight with two drones. The Kremlin condemned the alleged attempted attack as a “terrorist act” and said Russian military and security forces disabled the drones before they could strike.
A statement by Russian state news agencies said there were no casualties. The Kremlin added that President Vladimir Putin is safe and working with his unchanged schedule.
US officials told CBS News on Wednesday that they could not immediately confirm an attempted drone strike on the Kremlin.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who visited Finland on Wednesday, firmly denied any role in the alleged attack.
“We are not attacking either Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We defend our villages and towns,” he said.
Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said the allegations could be used by Russia as a pretext to justify “massive strikes against Ukrainian cities, against civilians and against infrastructure” in the coming days.
The Kremlin presented no evidence of the reported incident, and its statement offered few details. Unconfirmed videos posted to social media overnight allegedly showed at least one drone being shot down over the Kremlin, but the Kremlin did not reference the images.
Tass quoted the statement as saying that the Kremlin viewed the development as a premeditated assassination of Putin ahead of Victory Day, which Russia celebrates on May 9. Russia reserves the right to respond “when and where it sees fit,” the TASS report said, citing the statement.
Russian officials have been warning of possible drone strikes in the country for weeks as the country prepares to hold its Victory Day Parade. Hours before the Kremlin issued its statement on the alleged assassination, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said all drone flights over the city would be banned from Wednesday, with the exception of government equipment.
Regions in the west of the country, close to Ukraine, have canceled most public events to “not provoke the enemy,” as Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov put it in a recent live social media broadcast.
The alleged incident on Wednesday came as Russian security services claimed to have detained members of a Ukrainian sabotage network planning attacks in Russia’s occupied Crimea peninsula. As CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata reported from Dnipro, Ukraine, the allegation from Moscow also came as another Russian oil depot burned.
an oilin a suspected Ukrainian drone strike, but that was in Crimea. This time the fire erupted at a depot on the Russian side of the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia – firmly on Russian territory – after apparently being hit by a Ukrainian drone.
D’Agata said the incidents appeared to be evidence of a significant escalation ahead of a long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive on the battlefields of eastern Ukraine.
Attacks on Russian soil have been rare, but the frequency has increased in recent days.
Two freight train derailments occurred in Russia this week. Moscow accused at least one of them of having an explosive device attached to the tracks.
In a rare move, Ukraine actually claimed responsibility for the previous attack on an oil depot in Crimea, saying it was crucial to target Russia’s logistical capacity ahead of the counteroffensive.
Notwithstanding Ukrainian culpability in an attempted drone strike on the Kremlin on Wednesday, if there was one, Russia would likely use its claim as a pretext to escalate its own war against the neighboring country.
Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the Russian Parliament, said in a message published on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday that Ukraine “must be recognized as a terrorist organization,” accuses Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of “giving orders to carry out terrorist attacks”.
“There must be no negotiations with the Zelenskyi regime,” emphasized Volodin. “We will demand the use of weapons capable of stopping and destroying the Kiev terror regime.”