Russia says it shot down two Ukrainian drones aimed at Moscow

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian minister of digital transformation, right, and Yuriy Shchygol, head of State Special Communications Service, stand next to drones that are being sent to the frontline, in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 25, 2023. [AP Photo]

Russian authorities say its air defenses shot down two Ukrainian drones aimed at Moscow Wednesday.

Moscow Mayor Sergie Sobyanin said one of the aerial drones was shot down in the Domodedovo region south of the capital, which is home to one of Moscow’s busiest international airports, while the other was downed near the Minsk highway west of the city.

Sobyanin said there were no injuries or damages from the incident, which the Russian defense ministry described as an attempted “terrorist attack.”

Moscow has been the target of suspected Ukrainian drone attacks since May, when a drone was destroyed over the Kremlin. Moscow has also blamed Kyiv for a series of naval drone attacks on Russian civilian and military targets in the Black Sea.

Ukraine usually neither confirms nor denies such attacks.

Wednesday’s suspected attacks come two days after at least nine people were killed in two back-to-back Russian missile attacks on the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that 82 people were wounded, including two children.

Pokrovsk is in the Donetsk region, which has been the scene of some of the most intense fighting since Russia launched its invasion in February 2022. Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk, says the two missiles struck about 40 minutes apart, destroying residential buildings, restaurants, shops and administrative buildings and a hotel popular with foreign journalists, aid workers and the military.

Two people were killed in Russian missile strikes in Kruhliakivka village in Kupiansk district, according to Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration.

Germany offers extended military support for Poland

Germany has offered to extend the deployment of its Patriot missile defense systems in Poland, likely until the end of the year, the Defense Ministry said in a statement released Tuesday.

Berlin sent three Patriot units to eastern Poland in January after a deadly blast struck a Polish village in late 2022. The strike is believed to have been from a stray Ukrainian air defense missile.

Originally, the deployment of the U.S.-made systems was to be for a maximum of six months. But the Defense Ministry said it had offered Poland to keep the systems "over the summer, probably until the end of the year."

However, starting in 2024, the systems would be an “important contribution” to a NATO rapid response force, the ministry said, adding there would be no extension beyond 2023 for Poland.

Poland initially pushed back against Germany's offer of the Patriot units, instead calling on Berlin to send the weaponry to Ukraine. Germany, which has been a major contributor of weapons to Kyiv, later sent a Patriot system to Ukraine as well.