A drone attack temporarily shut down three Moscow-area airports Sunday as Ukraine pressed its effort to give Muscovites a grim taste of the war that has battered Ukraine since Russia's invasion began almost 19 months ago.
Two of the airports halted air traffic for several hours before reporting all airport activities were returning to normal at 8:30 a.m. local time, Russian state media reported. Another airport halted air traffic for about an hour. Dozens of flights were canceled or delayed. Similar incidents a day earlier also briefly disrupted airport traffic, Tass reported.
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said earlier Sunday that air defenses shot down drones in Moscow' Istria District, about 25 miles west of downtown Moscow. Another drone was shot down in the Ramenky District. No casualties or severe damage was reported from the incidents, Sobyanin said.
Drone attacks have damaged buildings, caused minor injuries and altered flight schedules for several weeks. Ukraine has not specifically claimed responsibility for the attacks but has defended them as fair play, citing the beating Ukraine cities have taken from Russian rockets and mortars since the war began.
◾The Ukraine Defense Contact Group will gather Tuesday in Germany for its monthly update meeting. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin leads the meeting, the primary global forum for garnering military support for Ukraine.
◾The West must brace for the reality that the war is going to last a long time and that if Ukraine stops fighting "their country will no longer exist," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Russian minister accuses US of directing war for Ukraine
The U.S. is dictating Ukraine's military actions and pursuing America's own war against Russia by providing weapons to Kyiv, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Rossiya-1 television. Lavrov, speaking on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, was asked about U.S. officials agreeing to supply Ukraine with long-range shells with depleted uranium.
"No matter what it says, it controls this war, it supplies weapons, munition, intelligence information, data from satellites, it is pursuing a war against us," Lavrov said. "Ukraine has been prepared, has long been prepared for inflicting strategic defeat to Russia using its hands and its bodies."
North Korea munitions won't alter war, US general says
North Korea will probably begin supplying Russia with artillery rounds and other weaponry soon, but the lifeline the military is throwing to Russian President Vladimir Putin is not likely to alter the course of the war, the top U.S. general says. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it remains unclear how soon the ammunition will be obtained by Moscow and how much North Korea can or is willing to provide. The assistance was among issues Putin discussed with Kim Jong Un during talks with the North Korean leader last week.
“Would it have a huge difference? I’m skeptical of that,” Milley said. “I doubt that it would be decisive.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine war updates: Russian airports close amid drone attacks