Russia Says It Shot Down 2 Drones Near Moscow Overnight: Live Updates

An air defense missile system on top of the Russian Defense Ministry headquarters in Moscow last week.Credit…Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Two drones flying near Moscow were shot down overnight, Russian officials said on Wednesday, in what appeared to be the third attempted attack near the Russian capital in recent days.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense blamed Ukraine for what it called an attempted “terrorist attack,” saying in a post on the Telegram messaging app that air defenses had destroyed the drones without casualties or damage.

One of the drones had been flying over the Domodedovo area on the southern outskirts of Moscow and the second was in the Minsk highway district to the west of the capital, the city’s mayor, Sergey S. Sobyanin, said in a Telegram post on Wednesday.

The claims could not be independently verified and there was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials, who rarely claim responsibility for attacks on Russian soil.

Until recently, Moscow had rarely been a target of attacks over the course of the 18-month war in Ukraine. But in recent weeks, Russian officials have reported a series of foiled aerial assaults — and Ukrainian officials have acknowledged that some were orchestrated by Kyiv, making it increasingly clear that they will not allow the war to be limited to their own soil.

“Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia — to its symbolic centers and military bases,” President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said late last month. “And this is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process.”

Russia’s defense ministry has claimed that Ukraine has launched at least 12 drones at Moscow and in the broader Moscow region in the past two and a half weeks.

One was shot down approaching the capital on Sunday, Mr. Sobyanin said, prompting Vnukovo airport, which serves Moscow, to temporarily suspend flights for “security reasons,” according to a Telegram post from the Russian state news agency Tass.

A building in central Moscow housing government ministries was also twice struck by drones in 48 hours.

“Moscow is rapidly getting used to a full-fledged war,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Mr. Zelensky, said on social media last week after the building was struck.

Though the assaults have caused minimal damage, especially in comparison to the devastation Moscow’s forces have inflicted in Ukraine, they have reached deep into Russian territory and have been aimed at symbolic and military targets, including a strike near the Kremlin earlier this year.

The bold strike near the Kremlin in May was said to have unnerved the Biden administration. There was a relative lull in attempted aerial attacks inside Russia until mid-July, and while subsequent drone assaults have been far less audacious, they have highlighted Ukraine’s expanded reach.

An analysis by The New York Times of attacks inside Russia using Ukrainian-made drones, as well as interviews with experts and officials, found that Ukraine is racing to scale up its homegrown drone fleet and is aiming to attack more frequently in Russia.

While the Russian authorities have largely tried to play down the risks of drone attacks, Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, spoke last week of “a clear threat,” adding that “measures are being taken” to build up defenses around the capital.

Some Russian military bloggers have suggested that the attacks are acts of desperation by Ukraine, aimed at making headlines while its slow and grueling counteroffensive grinds on. But some have also acknowledged that the assaults could have a psychological effect on the Russian public, who have hitherto largely escaped the day-to-day reality of the conflict.