War is returning to Russia, Zelensky warns, as Moscow rocked by drone attacks

War is returning to Russia, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned, after early-morning drone attacks hit Moscow on Sunday.

Although Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the strikes, Mr Zelensky said such attacks were an inevitable and fair process of the war between the nations.

Earlier on Sunday, Russia blamed Ukraine for what it called an “attempted terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime” and said three drones had targetted the capital.

Its defence ministry said two buildings were damaged in the Moskva-Citi business district after being brought down using electronic jamming equipment, while another was shot down over the Odintsovo area. One of the residential buildings damaged was home to three government ministries, local media reported.

Vnukovo airport on the southern outskirts of the capital was forced to temporarily close due to the attacks, according to Russia’s state news agency. Nobody was hurt, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.

It is the fourth attempt at a strike on the capital region this month and the third this week, fuelling concerns about Moscow’s vulnerability to attacks as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags on into its 18th month.

President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the attempted attacks, his spokesperson said. He was in his home town of St Petersburg for meetings with African leaders and a naval celebration at the time.

Emergency personnel survey the damage caused by one of the destroyed drones in Moscow (AP)
Emergency personnel survey the damage caused by one of the destroyed drones in Moscow (AP)

“On the morning of 30th July, an attempted terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime using unmanned aerial vehicles against targets in the city of Moscow was foiled,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement.

In a video address from the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk, Mr Zelensky said that Ukraine was getting stronger. “Today is the 522nd day of the so-called ‘Special Military Operation’, which the Russian leadership thought would last a couple of weeks,” he said.

“Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia – to its symbolic centres and military bases, and this is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process.”

A Ukrainian airforce spokesperson did not claim responsibility for the attacks but said the Russian people were seeing the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“All of the people who think the war ‘doesn’t concern them’ – it’s already touching them,” Yurii Ihnat told journalists.

“There’s already a certain mood in Russia: that something is flying in, and loudly,” he said. “There’s no discussion of peace or calm in the Russian interior any more. They got what they wanted.”

Mr Ihnat also referenced an attempted drone attack in Crimea early on Sunday – the Ukrainian territory occupied and illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

At least two buildings were damaged in the early-morning attacks on the capital (AP)
At least two buildings were damaged in the early-morning attacks on the capital (AP)

Russia’s defence ministry said it had shot down 16 Ukrainian drones and neutralised eight others through electronic jamming. No injuries or damage were reported.

Mr Zelensky has vowed to take back all land Russian forces have occupied, including Crimea, and his efforts have been strengthened by the receipt and deployment of increasingly advanced Western weapons.

It comes after a ramping up of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in recent weeks, with the head of Ukraine’s intelligence directorate telling Ukrainian news site TSN on Saturday that Kyiv’s forces were set to enter Crimea “soon”.

In Ukraine, the airforce claimed it had destroyed four Russian drones above the Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk regions.

Meanwhile, a Russian missile strike late on Saturday killed two people and wounded 20 in the city of Sumy in northeast Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said a four-storey college building was hit, with local authorities saying accommodation and teaching buildings were damaged in the blast and fire that followed.