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Overnight drone attack in Moscow injures one, closes airport

Russian authorities say three Ukrainian drones attacked Moscow in the early hours of Sunday, injuring one person and prompting a temporary closure for traffic of 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.

There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials, who rarely if ever take responsibility for attacks on Russian soil.

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.

Nine hurt in Dnipro strike

At least nine people were injured on Friday in a Russian strike on the town of Dnipro in east-central Ukraine, which hit an apartment block and a security services building, according to the authorities.

“At present, we know of nine people injured, including two children”, said Sergiy Kruk of Ukraine’s emergency services, raising the previous figure of five injured given by the Interior Minister.

Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Bakumov pointed out on Telegram that this city of 1 million inhabitants before the war had been the target of a Russian “missile attack”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky added that the Ukrainian security services building in Dnipro had also been hit by the Russian strike.

“Russian missiles have once again spread terror”, he commented on Telegram, promising to ensure that Russia would be “held accountable” and “punished”.

Videos posted on social networks and in the Ukrainian media show the top floors of a residential complex partly gutted and smoking, while the courtyard is littered with debris.

The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Serguiï Lyssak, referred to a fire covering 100 square metres in an “administrative building”.

Russia alleges Ukrainian strikes on its territory

The Russian Defence Ministry said it shot down a Ukrainian missile in the city of Taganrog, about 40 kilometres east of the border with Ukraine, and local officials reported 20 people were injured, identifying the epicentre as an art museum.

Debris fell on the city, the ministry added, alleging the missile was part of a “terror attack” by Ukraine.

Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, blamed Russian air defence systems for the explosion.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said it downed a second Ukrainian missile near the city of Azov, which like Taganrog is in the Rostov region, and debris fell in an unpopulated location.

Earlier in the day, a Ukrainian drone was shot down outside Moscow, the Defence Ministry said, in the third drone strike or attempt on the capital region this month. The ministry reported no injuries or damage in the latest incident, and it didn’t give an exact location where the drone fell.

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.

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