Russia's Defence Ministry referred to the incident as an “attempted terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime" and said three drones targeted the city.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that "war is returning to the territory of Russia" following an attempted drone attack in the Russian capital on Sunday.
Russian authorities said three Ukrainian drones attacked Moscow in the early hours of Sunday, injuring one person and prompting a temporary closure for traffic at one of four airports around the Russian capital.
It was the fourth such attempt at a strike on the capital region this month and the third this week, fueling concerns about Moscow’s vulnerability to attacks as Russia's war in Ukraine drags into its 18th month.
The Russian Defence Ministry referred to the incident as an “attempted terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime" and said three drones targeted the city. One was shot down in the surrounding Moscow region by air defense systems and two others were jammed. Those two crashed into the Moscow City business district in the capital.
Photos from the site of the crash showed the facade of a skyscraper damaged on one floor. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the attack “insignificantly damaged” the outsides of two buildings in the Moscow City district. A security guard was injured, Russia's state news agency Tass reported, citing emergency officials.
No flights went into or out of the Vnukovo airport on the southern outskirts of the city for about an hour, according to Tass, and the air space over Moscow and the outlying regions was temporarily closed for any aircraft. Those restrictions have since been lifted.
Moscow authorities have also closed a street for traffic near the site of the crash in the Moscow City area.
Russia's Defense Ministry reported shooting down a Ukrainian drone outside Moscow on Friday. Two more drones struck the Russian capital on Monday, one of them falling in the centre of the city near the Defense Ministry’s headquarters along the Moscow River about 3 kilometres from the Kremlin. The other drone hit an office building in southern Moscow, gutting several upper floors.
In another attack on July 4, the Russian military said four drones were downed by air defences on the outskirts of Moscow and a fifth was jammed by electronic warfare means and forced down.
The attack follows a night of reported drone skirmishes between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow announced on Sunday that it had foiled a Ukrainian attack on Russian-annexed Crimea, shooting down 16 drones and neutralizing eight more with an electronic jamming system. There were no casualties, officials said.
The Ukrainian air force reported that it had destroyed four Russian drones above the country’s Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk regions. Information on the attacks could not be independently verified.
Meanwhile, two people were killed and 20 wounded by a Russian missile strike late on Saturday evening on the city of Sumy in northeast Ukraine. A four-story building belonging to a vocational college was hit, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said. Local authorities said that dormitories and teaching buildings were damaged in the blast and the fire that followed.
African grain mediation effort fails
African leaders are leaving two days of meetings with Vladimir Putin with little to show for their requests to resume a deal that kept grain flowing from Ukraine and to find a path to end the war there.
In a press conference late on Saturday, Putin boasted that Russia's termination of the grain deal earlier this month drove up grain prices to the benefit of Russian companies. He added that Moscow would share some of those revenues with the "poorest nations".
That commitment, with no details, follows Putin's promise to start shipping 25,000 to 50,000 tons of grain for free to each of six African nations in the next three to four months – an amount dwarfed by the 725,000 tons shipped by the UN World Food Program to several hungry countries, African and otherwise, under the grain deal.
Russia plans to send the free grain to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Eritrea and the Central African Republic.
"We would like the Black Sea initiative to be implemented and that the Black Sea should be open," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said. "We are not here to plead for donations for the African continent."
Fewer than 20 of Africa's 54 heads of state or government attended the Russia summit, while 43 attended a previous gathering in 2019, reflecting concerns over Russia's invasion of Ukraine even as Moscow seeks more allies on the African continent.
Putin praised Africa as a rising centre of power in the world, while the Kremlin blamed "outrageous" Western pressure for discouraging some African countries from showing up.
Putin also said Russia would analyse African leaders' peace proposal for Ukraine, whose details have not been publicly shared. But the Russian leader asked: "Why do you ask us to pause fire? We can't pause fire while we're being attacked."
The next significant step in peace efforts instead appears to be a Ukrainian-organized peace summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in August. Russia is not invited.
Zelensky celebrates Ukrainian statehood and visits Bakhmut
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday celebrated his country's Statehood Day, reaffirming Ukrainian sovereignty – a rebuke to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who claims Ukraine does not exist as a nation.
“Now, like more than a thousand years ago, our civilisational choice is unity with the world," Zelenskyy said in a speech on a square outside St. Michael's Monastery in Kyiv. “To be a power in world history. To have the right to its national history – of its people, its land, its state. And of our children, all future generations of the Ukrainian people.
"We will definitely win!”
He also honoured servicemen and handed out first passports to young citizens as part of ceremonies. The holiday coincides with commemorations of the adoption of Christianity on lands that later became Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.
This morning, Zelenskyy announced that he had visited special forces positions near the front line in the Bakhmut region in eastern Ukraine, one of the key areas of the current counter-offensive.
"Towards Bakhmut, forward positions of the special operations forces. Today I am here to congratulate our soldiers on their professional day and pay tribute to their courage," he wrote on Telegram.
US believes Russia is stocking up on North Korean weapons
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday that the US believes Russia is trying to secure arms supplies from North Korea to boost its stalled invasion of Ukraine.
Following a rare visit to Pyongyang by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Blinken said that Russia was shopping around for weapons from its allies.
"I very much doubt he's there on holiday," Blinken told the Australian press.
"We see Russia desperately seeking support, weapons, wherever it can find them, to continue its aggression against Ukraine," he added.
"We see it with North Korea, we see it with Iran, which has supplied Russia with many drones, which it is using to destroy civilian infrastructure and kill civilians in Ukraine", he continued.
During his stay in North Korea, Mr Shoigu met the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, during a "friendly" meeting, according to Pyongyang's state media.
Russia, North Korea's historic ally, is one of the few countries with which Pyongyang maintains friendly relations.