Moscow airports forced to close as Ukraine matches intensity of Russian drone attack

Vnukovo airport in Moscow because of Ukraine drone attack
Vnukovo airport in Moscow shut because of Ukraine drone attack - NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP

Moscow airports were forced to shut on Sunday as Ukraine launched its most intense drone attack on the Russian capital for months.

Russian air defences brought down at least 24 drones over the Moscow region, which surrounds but does not include the capital,  and three other provinces to the south and west, officials said.

The attack came a day after Ukrainian officials reported that Russia had started its most severe drone attack on Kyiv since the beginning of the war.

One person was injured in the city of Tula, about 115 miles south of Moscow, when an intercepted drone hit an apartment building, Alexei Dyumin, the region’s governor, said.

Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports were briefly shut down because of the attack, according to Tass, the Russian state-run news agency.

Both airports appeared to have resumed normal operation by 6am local time, according to data from international flight tracking portals.

Three buildings damaged

Andrei Vorobyev, the regional governor, said the drone strikes damaged three buildings in the Moscow region, without providing further details, adding that no one was hurt.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defence ministry reported that two Soviet-made S-200 rockets fired by Kyiv were shot down over the sea of Azov, which stretches between annexed-Crimea and the occupied southeastern coast.

According to local news sources, air raid sirens sounded in Crimea and road traffic was also briefly halted yesterday (Sunday) morning across the 12-mile Kerch bridge that connects the occupied peninsula to the Russian mainland.

Elsewhere, parts of the occupied eastern area were left without power following a night-time Ukrainian strike on a thermal power plant in the Donetsk region, a Moscow-installed local official reported on Sunday.

According to Denis Pushilin, who heads the province, the attack on the Starobesheve plant took out the electricity in parts of the cities of Donetsk and Mariupol, along with other nearby areas

Ukrainian officials did not immediately acknowledge the attacks, which came a day after Russia targeted the Ukrainian capital with over 60 Iranian-made Shahed drones.

Falling debris from downed drones

At least five civilians were wounded in the hours-long assault, which saw several buildings damaged by falling debris from downed drones, including a kindergarten.

The wounded included a child, aged 11, according Vitali Klitschkoto, the  mayor of Kyiv.

The attack was “the most massive air attack by drones on Kyiv” in the war so far, Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv city administration, said on Saturday.

Yurii Ihnat, the Ukrainian air force spokesman, confirmed later on Saturday that air defences shot down 66 air targets over the Ukrainian capital and surrounding region throughout the morning.

The attack on Kyiv was carried out on the morning of Holodomor memorial day, which commemorates the man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine that killed millions of Ukrainians from 1932 to 1933. It is marked on the fourth Saturday in November.