The Russian presidential administration said Wednesday that the Kremlin complex of buildings was attacked by drones overnight in an attempt to kill President Vladimir Putin.
Videos shared in social media the same day shows an unidentified aerial vehicle resembling a drone exploding after 2 a.m. above the dome of the Senate building at a time two people were climbing on it. The roof seemed to have caught fire from the falling debris, though it was not hit directly by the exploding device.
No one was injured during the explosion.
The Kremlin said there were two drone and both were destroyed by Russian air defenses using electronic warfare. It immediately accused – via spokesman Dmitry Peskov – Ukraine of trying to assassinate the Russian leader, who was not in the palace at the time, and promised “retaliatory measures” to the “planned terror attack.”
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A spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski has denied that his country was behind any attack on the presidential administration and accused Moscow of deliberately “escalating the situation ahead of 9 May,” when Russia holds military parades to mark the Victory Day.
The incident happened days after a massive missile attacks on Ukrainian cities last week, with some rockets hitting residential blocks and killing more than 20 people including three children in Dnipro and Uman.
Witness reports say there were two explosions at least 10 minutes apart. It is not clear why the air defenses did not react to the first blast – and this suggests two scenarios.
One is that the security in the sky above the Kremlin and Moscow generally is badly flawed. To hit a target in the Russian capital, a drone from Ukraine must travel at least 450 kilometers. How had the alleged drones gone undetected across a large territory of the Russian Federation before detonating precisely near the Senate dome?
Under similar circumstances Ukrainian air defenses would knock down 80-90% of Russian missiles and drones.
A second version is that the incident was staged by the Russian security services or the military. One reason is to justify an eventual decision to cancel the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow over security fears. Another reason is that Moscow was preparing a major terror provocation against Ukraine and planning to sell it to the world as “a retaliatory measure,” a thought shared by Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak.
Some commentators also finger point at clan wars in the heart of the regime, but there’s no evidence to
Last week, Russian residents were instructed to search for bombs or explosives, and to report suspicious activities in their home cities. While many cities have cancelled the 9 May celebrations, the plan for a military show in the Red Square remains valid for the time being.
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