The Russian Defense Ministry announced on July 25, 2023, having intercepted a new attack of Ukrainian drones in Moscow overnight.
“On the morning of July 24, an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist act using two drones on facilities located in Moscow was thwarted,” the ministry said. “Electronic warfare systems jammed two Ukrainian drones, causing them to crash. There are no victims.”
According to the Russian news agency TASS, one of the drones fell on Komsomolsky Avenue, hundreds of meters away from the Russian Defense Ministry. Another hit a business center on Likhatchova Prospekt, near one of Moscow’s main ring boulevards.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova qualified the attack as “an act of international terrorism.” The Ukrainian authorities did not claim responsibility for the drone strikes.
In May 2023, the Russian presidency claimed that two Ukrainian drones targeted the Kremlin in an attempt to kill President Vladimir Putin.
Przynajmniej dwa ukraińskie drony dalekiego zasięgu „Bóbr” uderzyły dziś w cele w Moskwie. Jeden uderzył w pobliżu zabudować rosyjskiego Ministerstwa Obrony. pic.twitter.com/2nfFQJJnr4— Michał Nowak (@nowakkmichal) July 24, 2023
Retaliation for Odesa?
The drone attacks in Moscow come a day after Russian strikes on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, which left six dead and 22 injured.
During the attack, Russia launched 19 cruise missiles, nine of which were reportedly intercepted by the Ukrainian Air Force. Warehouses storing grain were destroyed. The port of Reni, located 700 meters away from Romania across the Danube River, was among the targets.
For several days now, Russian attacks have targeted the region in an attempt to destroy grain export infrastructure. Ukraine previously used Odesa and its ports to export its agricultural products despite the ongoing war and the Russian-imposed blockade, as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. However, the agreement expired on July 17, 2023. The following day strikes reportedly destroyed 60,000 tons of grain meant for export and stored in the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, near Odesa.
The attack also damaged several monuments in the historic center of Odesa, including the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, the first Orthodox church in the city founded in 1794.
“At least 44 buildings were damaged, 25 of which are architectural monuments,” regional governor Oleh Kiper said on Telegram.
UNESCO, which at the beginning of the year had listed the historic center of Odessa as a World Heritage Site, condemned the latest Russian strikes.
“This outrageous destruction marks an escalation of violence against cultural heritage of Ukraine,” Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, said in a statement.
“Missiles against peaceful cities, against residential buildings, a cathedral… There can be no excuse for Russian evil,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky. “There will definitely be a retaliation to Russian terrorists for Odesa.”