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Russia Claims Ukraine Launched Drone Targeting Putin at Kremlin


A view of the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 3, 2023.
A view of the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 3, 2023.

New developments:

  • The Kremlin claims Ukraine launched two drones at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s residence overnight but that security services disabled them, and Putin wasn’t injured. The Russian claim couldn’t be immediately verified, and a Ukrainian official denied any involvement.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in The Hague, to visit to the International Criminal Court.
  • Southern Russian refinery targeted by drone.
  • Kyiv, Odesa targeted by Russian missiles and drones.

Ukrainian officials said Russian missiles and drones attacked Kyiv and Odesa in the early hours of Thursday.

The Kyiv city government said, “The Russians have attacked Kyiv using Shahed loitering munitions and missiles, likely the ballistic type," but added that all the missiles and drones had been destroyed.

The Ukrainian southern military command said that 12 of the 15 drones launched at Odesa had been destroyed. Three struck a university campus, but there were no casualties.

The Kremlin claimed Wednesday that Ukraine launched two drones at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s residence overnight but that security services disabled them, and the Russian leader was not injured.

Thursday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the United States decided on the attack and that Ukraine carried it out.

The Russian claims could not be immediately verified, and a Ukrainian official said the Kyiv government had nothing to do with any alleged drone attack on the Kremlin.

The Kremlin said it “regards these actions as a planned terrorist attack and an attempt on the president,” and it reserved the right to retaliate. It said that “timely actions taken by the military and special services” had disabled the drones.

Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time of the incident, according to his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he could not verify the Kremlin reports. “I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt,” he said.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in comments sent to the Reuters news agency that the allegation that Kyiv was behind the attack, and Russia's arrest of alleged Ukrainian saboteurs in Crimea, could signal that Moscow was planning a large-scale "terrorist" attack against Ukraine in the coming days.

"Of course, Ukraine has nothing to do with drone attacks on the Kremlin. We do not attack the Kremlin because, first of all, it does not resolve any military tasks," Podolyak said.

"In my opinion, it is absolutely obvious that both 'reports about an attack on the Kremlin' and simultaneously the supposed detention of Ukrainian saboteurs in Crimea … clearly indicates the preparation of a large-scale terrorist provocation by Russia in the coming days,” Podolyak said.

Zelenskyy in The Hague

The Ukrainian leader arrived late Wednesday in the Netherlands after making a surprise visit earlier in the day to Finland to participate in a summit with the leaders of five Nordic nations.

Zelenskyy is expected to meet with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, deliver a speech at The Hague and meet with officials of the International Criminal Court on Thursday, according to a statement by presidential spokesman Sergiy Nykyforov. The ICC in March issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on a war crimes charge.

A product storage area at a refinery in southern Russia caught fire after a drone attack Thursday. However, the Russian Tass news agency said the fire at the Ilsky refinery, near the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk in the Krasnodar region was put out after two hours and the facility was now working normally.

On Wednesday, Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of Russia’s southwestern Krasnodar region, said on the messaging app Telegram a fuel depot in the village of Volna was targeted by a drone. He said there were no reports of casualties from the fire.

Volna is near the bridge spanning the Kerch Strait that separates mainland Russia from the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia forcibly annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The bridge, which is a vital link for Russia’s military to transport supplies to its soldiers in Ukraine, was partially destroyed by a truck bomb last October that Moscow blamed on Kyiv.

Wednesday’s fuel depot fire comes after a suspected drone attack last Saturday on an oil depot in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol.

The British Defense ministry in its daily intelligence update posted on Twitter said the attacks on Russian fuel depots in occupied Ukraine and the Russia Ukraine border area “will likely force adjustments to Russia’s military refueling operations to mitigate targeting.”

Some material in this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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