Russia has accused Ukraine of launching a drone attack on the Kremlin in an alleged attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin.
While video footage shows a bright explosion over the complex, Russian officials claim that there were no casualties and that Putin was not present at the time. Ukraine has denied any involvement in the alleged incident.
“We are not attacking Putin or Moscow. We are fighting on our territory, defending our villages and cities,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told reporters during a visit to Helsinki on Wednesday. “They will invent escalatory schemes every day.”
A Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, suggested on Twitter it could have been the work of “local resistance forces.” Podolyak alleged the Kremlin is using this incident as a pretext to justify large-scale attacks on civilians in Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington could not confirm the reports of an attack and that any such accounts from the Kremlin should be viewed with heavy skepticism, according to The Washington Post.
Analysts also cautioned against considering such a drone attack, even if it proves true, as an attempt to assassinate Putin.
The Russian government warned of eventual retaliation for the alleged plot. “The Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit,” the Kremlin said.
The alleged attack comes just days before the Victory Day parade on Red Square, which marks the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Shortly before news of the alleged attack broke, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin issued a ban on drones in the Russian capital, with the exception of drones used by authorities, in order to prevent “illegal use of drones that can hinder the work of law enforcement.”
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has resulted in numerous accusations and counter-accusations of aggression and interference. Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, seizing Crimea and backing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, leading to a war that has killed over 13,000 people.
The situation remains tense, with Ukraine preparing a counteroffensive aimed at reclaiming territory seized by Russian forces. The alleged drone attack on the Kremlin could further escalate the situation and increase tensions between the two countries.
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