A Ukrainian drone hit a building in central Moscow on Friday, disrupting air traffic after triggering a blast that was heard across the business district of the Russian capital, Russian officials said.
A Reuters witness who was in the area described hearing "a powerful explosion." A video published by Russian media outlets showed thick smoke rising next to skyscrapers in the capital.
❗️ Another drone attack on Moscow#Moscow residents are massively reporting the sounds of an explosion. Moscow Mayor Sobyanin said that a drone was shot down by air defense forces while attempting to fly over Moscow. The wreckage of the UAV fell in the area of Expocenter.Now… pic.twitter.com/HNlgPTsmGQ— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) August 18, 2023
The Russian defense ministry and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said there were no casualties after air defenses destroyed a drone that then fell on a non-residential building of Moscow's Expo Center complex in the early hours of Friday.
Air traffic was briefly suspended at four major airports around the capital - Vnukovo, Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Zhukovsky - though later they reopened. Russia's air transport agency said seven flights were redirected to alternative airports.
The Expo Center is a large spread of exhibition pavilions and multi-purpose halls, fewer than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) away from the Kremlin.
"At about 4 am Moscow time, the Kyiv regime launched another terrorist attack using an unmanned aerial vehicle on objects located in Moscow and the Moscow region," the Russian defense ministry said.
Drone strikes on Russian soil
Drone strikes deep inside Russia have increased since a drone was destroyed over the Kremlin in early May. Civilian areas of the capital were hit later in May and a Moscow business district was targeted twice in three days earlier this month.
Both Ukraine and Russia deny targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in the nearly 18-month war.
Ukraine typically does not comment on who is behind attacks on Russian territory, although officials have publicly expressed satisfaction over them.