Russia says it downed dozens of Ukrainian drones headed for Moscow, following a mass strike on Kyiv

One drone reportedly crashed into a high-rise apartment building in the city of Tula south of Moscow

Kyiv, Ukraine
People walk and take photos on a street closed for cars at dusk in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.Felipe Dana (AP)

Ukraine tried to attack Moscow with dozens of drones, Russian authorities said Sunday, just a day after Ukrainian officials reported that Russia had launched its most intense drone attack on Kyiv since the beginning of its full-scale war in 2022.

Russian air defenses brought down at least 24 drones over the Moscow region — which surrounds but doesn’t include the capital — and four other provinces to the south and west, the Russian Defense Ministry and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin reported in a series of Telegram updates. Neither referenced any casualties.

Andrei Vorobyev, governor of the Moscow region, wrote on Telegram that the drone strikes damaged three unspecified buildings there, adding that no one was hurt.

One drone crashed into a 12-story apartment building in the western Russian city of Tula, about 180 kilometers (113 miles) south of Moscow, slightly wounding one resident and causing limited damage, local Gov. Aleksei Dyumin wrote on Telegram on Sunday morning.

Moscow’s Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports also briefly shut down because of the drone attack, according to Russian state-run news agency Tass. Both appeared to have resumed normal operation by 6 a.m. local time Sunday, according to data from international flight tracking portals.

Russian Telegram channels speculated that Ukrainian forces had deployed a previously unseen type of drone in the purported strike, pointing out some similarities to the Iranian-made weapons Moscow routinely employs in its attacks on Ukraine.

The Russian capital has come under attack from drones regularly since May, with Russian officials blaming Ukraine. Military analysts commented at the time that the early attacks deployed Ukrainian locally-made drones, which couldn’t carry as heavy a payload as the Iranian-made Shaheds used by Russia.

Ukrainian officials didn’t immediately acknowledge or comment on the strikes, which came a day after Russia targeted the Ukrainian capital with more than 60 Shahed drones. At least five civilians were wounded in the hourslong assault, which saw several buildings damaged by falling debris from downed drones, including a kindergarten. The wounded included an 11-year-old child, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

The Ukrainian air force early on Sunday said it had brought down eight of nine Shahed drones fired overnight by Russian forces.

Also on Sunday morning, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that two Soviet-made S-200 rockets fired by Kyiv were shot down over the sea of Azov, which stretches between the Crimean Peninsula and Ukraine’s Russian-occupied southeastern coast.

According to local news sources, air raid sirens sounded earlier in Russian-annexed Crimea, which on Friday came under what Russian officials called a major drone attack. Road traffic was also briefly halted on Sunday morning across the 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge that connects Crimea to the Russian mainland.

There were no reports of casualties, and no comment from officials in Kyiv.

Elsewhere, parts of Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine were left without power following a nighttime Ukrainian strike on a thermal power plant in the Donetsk region, a Moscow-installed local official reported on Telegram Sunday. According to Denis Pushilin, who heads the province that Russia illegally annexed last year, the attack on the Starobesheve plant took out the electricity in parts of the occupied cities of Donetsk and Mariupol, along with other nearby areas.

On the outskirts of Donetsk, Russian troops have continued their attempts to advance near Avdiivka, the eastern town that has been a Ukrainian stronghold and fighting hot spot since the early days of the war, according to reports by the Ukrainian General Staff and analysis by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.

The Ukrainian General Staff said Sunday morning that Kyiv’s forces beat back Russian assaults to the northeast, west and southwest of Avdiivka over the previous 24 hours, as Moscow’s troops strain to encircle the city.

Several Russian bloggers also made unconfirmed claims that Ukrainian forces had begun withdrawing from the industrial zone on Avdiivka’s southern flank, although others said that Russian troops lacked complete control of the area. These claims couldn’t be independently verified.

Russian shelling killed two civilians in the Donetsk region on Saturday and overnight, acting Ukrainian Gov. Ihor Moroz reported on Telegram on Sunday morning. Over that same period, Russian shells wounded one person in Ukraine’s northern Sumy province, which borders Russia, according to a Telegram update by the Ukrainian regional military command.

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