Day 461 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv hit Moscow with Drone Attacks
Day 461 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Three buildings were damaged in the drone attack over Moscow
- Kyiv has denied involvement in the drone strike on Moscow but watched the attacks with pleasure
- Russian MP says three drones shot down over Moscow suburb where Putin has official residence
- The mayor of Moscow reported a drone attack on the city
- UJ-22 Airborne. Kyiv hit Moscow with drones of its own production, Solovyov wrote about 32 drones
- Russian strikes on Kyiv for the third night
- The Ukrainian Minister of Defense: We have serious chances to make a breakthrough in the summer
- South Africa grants Putin and other Russian officials diplomatic immunity for BRICS summit
Three buildings were damaged in the drone attack over Moscow
Moscow and the Moscow region were this morning subjected to the first-ever massive drone attack. The anti-aircraft defense was activated.
Three buildings were reported damaged. Two people sought medical attention.
The Ministry of Defense announced that 8 drones were involved in the attack, five of which were shot down by the "Pantsir-S" anti-aircraft missile complex, and the remaining three - neutralized with the means of radio-electronic warfare. However, various media reported between 10 and 25 drones.
At least three drones crashed into the high floors of residential buildings on "Leninsky Prospekt", "Profsyuznaya Street" and in "Nova Moskva".
Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said there was minor material damage to several buildings, that no one was seriously injured and that two people had sought medical attention.
The Investigative Committee began proceedings under three articles of the Criminal Code: terrorism, attempted mass murder and intentional destruction of property.
Kyiv denies having anything to do with the attack.
Kyiv has denied involvement in the drone strike on Moscow but watched the attacks with pleasure
An adviser to the Ukrainian president denied that Kyiv was directly involved in the drone attack on Moscow, but said that Ukraine was watching the events with pleasure and predicted an increase in this type of attacks, Reuters reported, quoted by BTA.
"...regarding the attacks: of course, we are happy to observe and predict an increase in the number of attacks. But, of course, we have no direct relation to this," Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, said in the broadcast "Breakfast" on "YouTube".
Meanwhile, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said he was working in the Kremlin and had been briefed on the drone attacks on Moscow.
Dmitry Peskov also said that Russia's air defenses and defense ministry worked well to deal with the attack, and added that there were currently no plans for Putin to comment on the attack, which Moscow blamed on Ukraine.
Russian MP says three drones shot down over Moscow suburb where Putin has official residence
A senior Russian politician said three drones shot down over Moscow today were over the Russian capital's prestigious suburb of Rublyovka, home to President Vladimir Putin's official residence, Reuters reported.
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said air defenses had destroyed all eight drones used in the attack, which it blamed on Ukraine.
In a Telegram post, Alexander Khinshtein, a prominent member of the Russian parliament from the ruling United Russia party, said three drones had been shot down over Rublyovka, just a 10-minute drive from Putin's residence in Novo Ogarevo.
Russia's Investigative Committee, which launched an investigation into the incidents, confirmed that the drones were shot down over the Odintsovo region, which includes Rublyovka.
Rublevka, a cluster of elite gated communities in the forests west of Moscow that once saw some of the highest real estate prices in the world, is home to much of Russia's political, business and cultural elite, Reuters noted.
In addition to Putin, former President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin also own homes in Rublyovka, as do many of Russia's richest businessmen.
In a statement published on Telegram by his press office, the head of Russia's private military company Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, blamed the drone attacks on senior military personnel living in the suburb.
Prigozhin, known for his sharp statements, has repeatedly characterized the residents of Rublyovka as an elite not sufficiently committed to the war in Ukraine, and has blamed the high command for Russian failures on the battlefield, Reuters noted.
"Why on earth do you allow these drones to fly to Moscow? Who cares that they fly to your homes on Rublyovka! May your houses be reduced to ashes," Prigozhin said.
The mayor of Moscow reported a drone attack on the city
Moscow was attacked with drones this morning, minimal damage was done to buildings, there were no serious injuries, said the mayor of the Russian capital Sergey Sobyanin, quoted by AFP.
The city, which is located more than 1,000 km from Ukraine, has rarely been subject to drone attacks since the start of Russia's war in Ukraine, although such attacks are becoming more frequent in other regions of Russia.
Photos on social media showed smoke in the sky and others a broken window.
Today's attack follows a similar attack on Kyiv carried out by Russian drones overnight, which killed at least one person, according to the Ukrainian capital's mayor, Vitaly Klitschko.
A Russian (what looks to be) Pantsir-S1 air defense system engaging a UAV in the area of Moscow. pic.twitter.com/nekJdqu4U5— NOELREPORTS ???????? ???????? (@NOELreports) May 30, 2023
Earlier, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that about 2,500 households were without electricity as a result of yesterday's shelling. In the attack in the city of Shebekino, one person died and several were injured, the governor also said. The injured have been hospitalized.
In Kyiv, at least one person was killed and three were injured when debris fell on a residential building after Russia launched another airstrike on the Ukrainian capital overnight. Ukrainian air defense forces have destroyed more than 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones, the military administration of Kyiv announced. This is the third attack on Kyiv in the last 24 hours, Reuters notes.
Reported as Il'inki, just north of Moscow. pic.twitter.com/NrJyzLuDn4— NOELREPORTS ???????? ???????? (@NOELreports) May 30, 2023
UJ-22 Airborne. Kyiv hit Moscow with drones of its own production, Solovyov wrote about 32 drones
At least 32 drones were launched against the Russian capital on Tuesday night, according to Russian media and social networks. Video footage and photos of the attack also show the silhouette of the kamikaze drone that was used in the attack on Moscow.
Military experts recognize the UJ-22 Airborne strike drone, produced by the Ukrainian company Ukrjet, among the machines that managed to overcome the MKAD - Moscow's ring road and get 30 minutes by car and much less by drone to the Red Square. The drone can cover a distance of up to 800 kilometers and carry 15-20 kilograms of explosives. This is approximately 30 F1 grenades or 4 rounds for an RPG-7.
????????????????⚡️About 25 UAVs participated in the morning attack on Moscow and the Moscow region— Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) May 30, 2023
According to Baza sources, most of them were shot down by air defense forces in the Moscow region, some of the drones caught on trees and wires, as they flew at ultra-low altitude.
Shot shows… pic.twitter.com/79jj5hozu1
According to the Kremlin propagandist Volodymyr Solovyov, 19 drones were shot down while flying towards Rublyovka, Krasnogorsk region, Istrina region, Novaya Moskva, Aprelevka and Vlasikha, 10 caught trees and fell - in Odintsovo region and TiNAO, 3 hit residential buildings on Leninsky prospect, Profsyuznata Street and Atlasova Street. Solovyov claimed that 32 drones were used in the attack on Moscow and added that people living in the buildings that were hit by drones were given help by doctors on the spot.
Moscow was attacked by 16 drones:— Lord Bebo (@MyLordBebo) May 30, 2023
- 13 drones were shot down on approach in the areas of Rublyovka, Krasnogorsk district, Istra district and New Moscow.
- 3 drones hit residential buildings on Leninsky Prospekt, Profsoyuznaya Street and Atlasova Street.
So far, no one has been… https://t.co/WqkOmVttRy pic.twitter.com/xOmrEqllVd
"This morning, the Kyiv regime launched a terrorist attack with drones on sites in Moscow," said the Russian Defense Ministry, which does not use the term terrorist when it comes to attacks by the Russian army on sites in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Unlike Solovyov, the Ministry of Defense recognizes only 8 aircraft-type drones.
Anger and panic gripped Russian military bloggers and official spokesmen for Kremlin propaganda, judging by their Twitter and Telegram statuses. And also anxiety because of the activity of the GUR, the Ukrainian military intelligence, on Ukrainian territory.
MOSCOW... Drones attack ???????????? pic.twitter.com/XNDbSJtiQl— MAKS 23 ???????????? (@Maks_NAFO_FELLA) May 30, 2023
The issue is that some of the drones have a maximum range of 500 kilometers.
"From this follows the perfectly logical conclusion that we are dealing with another special operation of the GUR, using its agency on Russian territory for the strike. There is no evidence that they were released from the territory of Ukraine - their flight would have been noticed in due time. And here they were noticed only in the Moscow region. Let's recall that throughout the spring in the Moscow region, unknown drones were repeatedly spotted, and the attack on Moscow before the parade on May 9 showed that the GUR methodically groped for options for attacks on Moscow. We were never able to find out who was launching the drones and from where. And now another attack. Fortunately unsuccessful. Not a single object was hit, and there were no casualties. But, we can have no doubt, the experience of this attack will be reported (by the Ukrainians). And, if the enemy agency is not discovered and destroyed, the strikes will continue," military observer Ramsay wrote on Telegram.
The author also draws the following conclusions:
- In Moscow and the Moscow region, as well as in the areas close to them, a powerful branched diversionary network of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine operates. (Budanov)
- GUR retains its ability to deliver weapons and explosives to our territory.
Against the background of Russian concerns about the first more massive air attack against the Russian capital, in the Ukrainian virtual space the news of a drone flight towards Moscow caused excitement:
Good Morning ???????????? When Moscow is saying only trust their official channels I am going to say ???????? What UAVs Doing comrade? ???????? pic.twitter.com/d4j7iifbRw— Fella Ian - RUSSOPHOBIC (@Ian04203236) May 30, 2023
Russian strikes on Kyiv for the third night
Russian airstrikes were aimed at Kyiv last night - the third in a row. Explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital. One person died. Three were injured. Several buildings - set on fire.
The authorities, quoted by the BBC, specify that the fires were caused by falling debris, and Ukrainian air defense intercepted more than 20 drones. Its air force says it has shot down all missiles and drones in the previous two night attacks on Kyiv.
The military administration in Kyiv said that according to preliminary information, more than 20 kamikaze drones were destroyed in the latest attack, but one person was killed and three were injured in a fire in a high-rise building in the southern Holosievsky district.
"Two upper floors have been destroyed, and there may be people under the rubble," the administration warned.
Two buildings caught fire and several cars were damaged in the capital's Darnitsa district, which is located just across the Dnieper River.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko described the latest attack as "massive" and urged residents "not to leave the shelters".
The air alert was lifted after three hours, meaning the Russian airstrike is over for now.
It was the 17th attack on the capital since early May, including Monday's unusual daytime attack.
The president of the country attacked by Russia last February, Volodymyr Zelensky, gave a high assessment of the American Patriot air defense equipment delivered to Ukraine. In a video address late Monday, he said they were guaranteeing "100 percent takedown of any Russian missiles."
"Russia wants to follow the path of evil to the end, i.e. to its defeat, because evil can have no other end than defeat. The world must see that terror is losing," added Zelensky.
Ukraine has been planning a counter-offensive for months, but wants to get as much time as possible to train troops and receive military equipment from Western allies.
The Ukrainian Minister of Defense: We have serious chances to make a breakthrough in the summer
"We have a serious chance of making a breakthrough in the summer," Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in an interview published yesterday in the French daily Ouest-France, reported AFP. In the interview, the Ukrainian Defense Minister is adamant that Ukraine needs immediate arms supplies from its Western allies.
To the French daily, Reznikov also expressed his hope that "by the end of the year" Kyiv will receive F-16 fighters, with the help of which the Ukrainian forces will be able to oppose the Russian air power. The large-scale counteroffensive "will lead to a new withdrawal of the Russians from our territories", the Ukrainian minister also predicted.
Earlier in an interview with Reuters, Igor Zhovkva, the chief diplomatic adviser to the Ukrainian president, said that Kyiv’s peace plan is the only way to end Russia's war in Ukraine and the time for mediation efforts is over, he added.
"Ukraine has no interest in a cease-fire, which includes Russian territorial gains, and wants the implementation of its peace plan, which provides for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops," the presidential adviser stressed. Russia has said it is open to peace talks with Kyiv.
But he insists that all talks should be based on the "new realities", i.e. the annexation of Ukrainian provinces.
In recent months, Ukraine has rebuffed a wave of peace initiatives from China, Brazil, the Vatican and South Africa. Despite President Zelensky's efforts, Kyiv has failed to win over the Global South - Latin America, Africa and much of Asia - where Russia has been investing diplomatic efforts for years.
In response to the Western embargo on Russian oil imports by sea, Russia has been working to shift supplies from its traditional European markets to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba embarked on a second tour of Africa last week.
And presidential adviser Zhovkva stressed to Reuters that winning support in the global south is a top priority for Kyiv.
South Africa grants Putin and other Russian officials diplomatic immunity for BRICS summit
South African government has granted diplomatic immunity to all international participants, including Russian President Vladamir Putin and other Russian officials, at BRICS-related events to be held in the country, local media reported.
The immunities and privileges in terms of the United Nations Convention grant immunity from personal arrest or detention. A gazetted notice was issued by the International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor for the Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges Act to be granted to all international officials at BRICS-related events in the country, according to the Daily Maverick, a South African-based publication.
The notice, signed on May 19 and gazetted on Monday, states that Putin and his international counterparts will be granted immunities and privileges provided in terms of Section 6(1)(a) of the act.
A spokesperson for Pandor said the notice was "routine", and such notices were issued every time there was a similar international meeting in South Africa.
The act states that this immunity is granted to officials and experts of the United Nations, any specialized agency or organization, and representatives of any state participating in an international conference or meeting convened in South Africa.
Section 6(1)(a) of the act sets out that immunities "are specifically provided for in the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, 1946, or the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the specialized agencies, 1947, as the case may be, in respect of the participation in conferences and meetings".
"Immunity from personal arrest or detention and from seizure of their personal baggage, and, in respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in their capacity as representatives, immunity from legal process of every kind," the document reads.
A warrant for Putin's arrest was issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague in March, and since South Africa is a member of the formation, it is obliged to arrest Putin when he is in the country.
Despite this, South Africa, as the current chair of the BRICS alliance, has officially invited Putin to the summit in August.
The International Relations Department is also seeking a legal opinion on how to deal with the ICC's arrest warrant. Putin's possible attendance at BRICS has been a bone of contention since the warrant was issued.
It has now been confirmed that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the BRICS foreign ministers meeting in Cape Town on Thursday and Friday.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader John Steenhuisen filed an application seeking an urgent order to the government to arrest Putin if the ICC requests South Africa to arrest him if he sets foot in the country, the Daily Maverick reported.
Steenhuisen has requested a three-part order, which seeks to confirm that the other respondents to his application are obliged to ensure that Putin is arrested if he enters South Africa.
Steenhuisen seeks an order confirming that the director-general of justice, on receipt of a request from the ICC to arrest and surrender Putin, must forward the arrest warrant to a magistrate.
The other respondents are the President, the minister and the director-general of Justice and Constitutional Development, the minister and director-general of International Relations and Cooperation, the minister and the national commissioner of police and the Deputy President.
The South African government had indicated that it is seeking a legal loophole that would allow it to host Putin without violating the ICC Rome Statute. This loophole would be found in Article 98 of the Rome Statute.
While Article 27 of the Rome Statute stipulates that even sitting heads of state are not immune from prosecution by the ICC, Article 98 appears to provide an exception to this general rule.
Article 98(1) states, "The Court may not proceed with a request for surrender or assistance which would require the requested State [in this case South Africa] to act inconsistently with its obligations under international law with respect to the State or diplomatic immunity of a person ... of a third State, [in this case Putin and Russia] unless the Court can first obtain the cooperation of that third State for the waiver of the immunity."
On the face of it, this article appears to suggest that the ICC could not ask Pretoria to arrest and hand over Putin unless Russia agreed to waive Putin's immunity from prosecution - which Moscow would obviously not give.
South Africa tried to invoke Article 98 when the ICC asked it to arrest and surrender then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. But the ICC ruled then that because the UN Security Council had referred the Sudan situation to the ICC, Article 98 did not apply.
However, the Ukraine situation under which the ICC issued a warrant of arrest for Putin, was not referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council. It was taken up by the ICC prosecutor.
South Africa might face an even greater obstacle in its own ICC Implementation Act which is also explicit that sitting heads of state do not enjoy immunity from prosecution - but without any qualification like Article 98, the Daily Maverick reported.
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