Russia Accuses Ukraine of Drone Attack on Kremlin; Ukraine Denies Involvement
Written by: Sam Orlando
Washington, DC - Moscow residents reported explosions and a fire near the Kremlin walls yesterday, but unanswered questions surround the Russian government's account of the events.
The Russian presidential administration announced on Wednesday that the Kremlin was attacked by Ukrainian drones in an alleged attempt on President Vladimir Putin's life. The Ukraine government denies the accusation, with a spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky suggesting that Moscow is attempting to escalate the situation ahead of Russia's Victory Day on May 9.
Residents of Moscow reported hearing two explosions behind the Kremlin walls around 2 a.m. local time, followed by a power outage. Videos shared on a local Telegram channel showed smoke filling the sky above the Kremlin and part of the complex on fire. Russian authorities claim that two Ukrainian drones were involved in the attack, both of which have reportedly been destroyed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Putin was not at the presidential residence at the time of the incident and that no injuries were reported, according to the TASS news agency. The Kremlin has labeled the event a "planned terrorist attack" and an "assassination attempt" on Russia's president, threatening to take "retaliatory measures."
Zelensky's spokesman, Serhii Nykyforov, refuted the allegations that Ukraine was behind any attack on the Kremlin. He highlighted the irony in Russia's choice of words, pointing out that true terrorist attacks involve destruction of homes and infrastructure, as has happened in Ukraine.
The Kremlin's official account of the events raises several unanswered questions. Witnesses reported that the two explosions occurred more than 10 minutes apart, suggesting a delayed or ineffective response by federal protection units guarding the Kremlin. A Moscow resident interviewed by independent outlet Verstka confirmed the timing of the two blasts, and videos shared on local Telegram channels support this timeline.
Furthermore, Verstka reported that one of the most striking videos of the "attack" was filmed from a building located on Red Square, which belongs to the presidential administration. An unnamed worker inside the Kremlin told Verstka that there was no sense of panic or heightened security as the workday began on Wednesday.
It remains unclear how two Ukrainian drones could have penetrated Russia's air defenses and reached the heart of the capital. The alleged assassination attempt follows months of Russian pro-war hawks demanding more aggressive attacks against Ukraine, and many Russian lawmakers seized on the incident at the Kremlin to renew these demands.
The incident occurs just days before Russia's main Victory Day parade on Red Square, an event authorities reportedly fear could be disrupted by drone attacks. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has banned drone flights in the city without a special government permit, and independent Russian media reported that utility workers have been ordered to patrol Moscow's streets in search of any bombs or drones ahead of the event.