Russia accuses Ukraine of trying to kill Putin with Kremlin drone strike

Zelenskiy adviser denies Ukrainian involvement after Kremlin says two attack drones were disabled by Russian defences

Russia says it downed two drones that targeted the Kremlin in Moscow last night and accused Ukraine of attempting to kill President Vladimir Putin.

Unverified footage on social media appeared to show an object flying over the Kremlin before a small explosion.

Ukraine said it had nothing to do with the drone strike.President Volodymyr Zelensky’s spokesman said Ukraine was focusing on liberating its own territory after Russia invaded last year.

In a statement published on its website, the Kremlin stated it considered the attack a planned terrorist act and an attempt on the life of the president of the Russian Federation.

“Two unmanned aerial vehicles were aimed at the Kremlin. As a result of timely actions taken by the military and special services with the use of radar warfare systems, the vehicles were put out of action,” the Kremlin press service said.

It said that debris from the drone “fell on the territory of the Kremlin”.

“There were no victims and material damage,” the Kremlin said, adding that “the Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit”.

“The president was not hurt as a result of the terrorist attack,” the Kremlin said.

Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time of the attack. Peskov added that Putin would spend the day at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, denied Ukraine’s involvement in the attack, saying that it was the result of “local resistance forces”.

“Ukraine wages an exclusive defensive war and does not attack targets on the territory of the Russian Federation,” Podolyak said in a tweet.

“Emergence of unidentified unmanned aerial vehicles at energy facilities or on Kremlin’s territory can only indicate the guerilla activities of local resistance forces. As you know, drones can be bought at any military store.”

“Something is happening in RF [Russia], but definitely without Ukraine’s drones over the Kremlin,” Podolyak added.

One unverified video circulating on social media showed what appeared to be smoke coming out of the Kremlin overnight. A second appeared to show the moment one of the drones hit the rooftop buildings inside the walled Kremlin complex, followed by an explosion.

Russia has sustained a number of embarrassing drone attacks on its military bases and fuel depots over the course of the fighting, including in occupied Crimea. In a separate incident on Wednesday, a major fire at a fuel depot in southern Russia’s Krasnodar region broke out as a result of what local authorities said was a drone attack.

Ukraine typically declines to claim responsibility for attacks on Russia or Russian-annexed Crimea, though Kyiv officials have frequently celebrated such attacks with cryptic or mocking remarks.

The attack at the Kremlin came days before the 9 May Victory Day parade that marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. The Victory Day parade in Red Square, which is located next to the Kremlin, is a highly symbolic annual demonstration of military might in Russia.

Before Wednesday’s drone attack, several regions in the country scrapped their parades amid fears of Ukrainian strikes. The Kremlin said the parade would go ahead in Moscow despite the incident.

Several officials and pro-Kremlin analysts called on Putin to take retaliatory measures.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chair of the State Duma, said the “Kyiv regime” should be labelled as terrorists and destroyed.

“We will demand the use of weapons that can stop and destroy the Kyiv terrorist regime,” he added.

Sergei Markov, a former Kremlin adviser, similarly urged Moscow to “destroy the Ukrainian regime.”

“The whole world is watching the attack on the Kremlin and everyone is waiting, what Russia’s response will be? The main question is – will Russia really be able to liquidate someone from the leadership of Ukraine? Or will their threats remain just words?” Markov wrote on his Telegram channel.