Drone attack causes shutdown of Moscow airports

August 27, 2023

Russia temporarily shut down all three of Moscow's major airports on Saturday in response to a drone attack. 

Russian state media reported, "The airspace over the Russian capital of Moscow’s Vnukovo, Sheremetyevo, and Domodedovo airports has been temporarily closed, a source in the aviation services told TASS on Saturday."

Russia is blaming Ukraine for the drone attack.

“The Kiev regime launched another terrorist attack using a drone against facilities in Moscow and Moscow region on August 18 at 4:00 Moscow time," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Drone downed

According to the Associated Press, Russia claims to have downed the drone that led the attack on Moscow.

Per the outlet:

Russia’s defense ministry and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that a drone was shot down over the Istra district of the Moscow region, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Red Square. Sobyanin said in a Telegram post that there were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage.

Russia has posted to Telegram several videos that purportedly depict the drone being downed. It is unclear whether this is indeed the case.

Then, later in the day on Saturday, Russia claimed to down another drone that was approaching Belgorod. But, again, this has not been confirmed.

Also unclear is whether Ukraine actually carried out the drone strike. At the time of the writing, Ukraine has yet to claim responsibility for the attack. It would certainly, though, not be out of character.

Background

Business Insider reports, "Ukrainian drone attacks have at least twice before caused shutdowns of all major airports in the greater Moscow area, disrupting and delaying dozens of flights."

Russia, too, has launched its fair share of drone attacks against Ukraine.

Ukraine's attacks come as part of a counteroffensive that it launched this summer. The counteroffensive has targeted a number of key Russian assets near the Black Sea. Russia has responded in kind.

Russia's latest attack took place near the city of Kupiansk on Saturday. Russian officials claim to have struck a cafe in Padoly, which is an eastern suburb of Kupianski. The attack is reported to have killed at least two civilians and to have wounded at least one other.

The Associated Press reports:

U.K. military intelligence on Saturday assessed that Russia may “increase the intensity of its offensive efforts” around Kupiansk and nearby Lyman in an attempt to take pressure off its forces near Bakhmut and in the Zaporizhzhia region, where a Ukrainian counteroffensive has reportedly made gradual gains.

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