As drone war comes to Russia, Muscovites shrug their shoulders and carry on

Drones reportedly hit buildings in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - After the biggest ever drone strike on Moscow brought the Ukraine war to the Russian capital, Muscovites carried on with their lives with the fatalism for which they are famous.

On a warm spring day in the city centre, residents could be seen taking selfies in front of the Bolshoi Theatre while others relaxed in cafes and shopped in the well-stocked luxury stores of Moscow.

Very few expressed concern at the news. Most shrugged their shoulders and many expressed sadness that the conflict appeared to be escalating.

"The Kyiv regime is already crossing all the lines," Natalia, 59, told Reuters, referring to the Ukrainian government which Russia said was behind the drone attack on Moscow.

"This is very sad, especially since they are directing these drones at residential buildings, at the city, at civilians, where there are no military facilities."

Though civilian targets in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities have, since the earliest days of the war, been struck repeatedly by Russian drones and missiles, Tuesday marked only the second time the Russian capital had come under direct fire, after an apparent drone strike on the Kremlin earlier this month.

The Russian Defence Ministry said that all the drones had been downed, though three collided with residential buildings in south Moscow and the town of Moskovskiy, on the capital's outskirts. Two people were injured.

The Kremlin said it was obvious that Ukraine was behind the attack and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the drones had been directed against civilian targets. Ukraine denied it was directly involved in targeting Moscow but forecast more attacks would follow.


Some residents who spoke to Reuters suggested that the conflict in Ukraine was always likely to make itself felt at home, sooner or later.

Olga, who said she lived near to the site of one of the drone collisions on Profsoyuznaya Street, called the strikes "logical, to be expected ... what else were we waiting for?"

"Of course I am glad it didn't fall on our house, just nearby", Olga added. "I'm thinking about moving to a safer place."

Drone debris hit some of Moscow most prestigious areas including Leninsky Prospekt, a grand avenue crafted under Josef Stalin, and the area of western Moscow where the Russian elite - including President Vladimir Putin - have their residences.

Residents in southwestern Moscow said they heard loud bangs at around 0200 to 0300 GMT, followed by the smell of petrol. Some filmed a drone being shot down and a plume of smoke rising over the Moscow skyline.

The Kremlin praised Moscow's air defences and the military while Russian lawmakers suggested Russia needed to get tougher at rooting out traitors and saboteurs within Russia.

Exactly how the Russian population views the war is unclear as few trust pollsters enough to tell them the truth and even then, emigre opponents of Putin say, any negative polls would never be published.

Criticism of what the Kremlin calls the "special military operation" in Ukraine has been punishable by law since the start of the conflict, and public criticism of Putin is rare.

"You need to understand cause and effect, why everything is happening," one middle-aged man, who declined to give his name, told Reuters in central Moscow. "I think that these attacks are due to only one thing: the fact that our ruler began waging a war.

"All of this is because of our ruler," said the man. "It's no surprise it's bounced back to here."

(Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Nick Macfie and Jon Boyle)