Explosions Over the Kremlin Set Off Dueling Accusations

Two explosions occurred 15 minutes apart over the Kremlin early Wednesday, video footage verified by The New York Times showed, in an incident that set off a flurry of accusations and escalated tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia claimed the Ukrainian government had orchestrated a drone attack, describing it as a deliberate attempt to strike President Vladimir V. Putin’s residence that was foiled by Russian “electronic warfare systems.” Russia did not release any evidence to show that Ukraine was behind the explosions.

Ukraine denied any involvement, asserting that Russia had manufactured the incident to distract attention from Ukraine’s looming counteroffensive. An attack in the heart of Moscow would represent an audacious move by Kyiv, with the potential to create serious repercussions.

On Wednesday, U.S. intelligence agencies were still trying to determine what happened, according to two American officials briefed on the situation. U.S. officials have in the past voiced concern about Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil, concerned they could provoke Moscow without having a direct effect on the battlefield.

Kyiv is readying tens of thousands of soldiers for its counteroffensive and stepping up strikes aimed at weakening Russian forces. Mr. Putin is preparing to preside over a major military parade in Red Square next Tuesday, on Russia’s main patriotic holiday — the May 9 celebration of the Soviet Union’s World War II victory over Nazi Germany.

Whatever the provenance of the explosions, it was clear that the Kremlin had made a deliberate choice to publicize the incident. About 12 hours after the blasts, Mr. Putin’s press service issued a rare, five-paragraph statement alleging that the “Kyiv regime” had used drones to carry out an unsuccessful “attempt on the life of the president.” Mr. Putin’s spokesman said the president was not in the Kremlin when the explosions occurred, at around 2:30 a.m. Moscow time.

If the explosions were indeed a drone attack, the penetration of central Moscow’s air defenses would represent the latest embarrassing failure by a Russian military that has struggled throughout the 14-month war. Either way, the incident could serve as a pretext for Mr. Putin to launch new strikes on Ukraine, as happened after the fiery attack on Russia’s bridge to Crimea last October.

Ukraine, for its part, has largely maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity over whether it has played a role in attacks inside Russia. In this case, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, directly denied responsibility.

“We don’t attack Putin or Moscow,” he told the Nordic broadcaster TV2 during a visit to Finland. “We fight on our territory. We’re defending our villages and cities. We don’t have enough weapons for these.” Dealing with Mr. Putin, he added, would be left to an international tribunal.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The Kremlin statement said that drones had targeted the Russian president’s official residence, calling it “a planned terrorist attack and an attempt on the life of the president.” Russia reserved the right to retaliate, it said.

  • Shortly after the Kremlin issued its statement, air raid alarms wailed across the Kyiv, but the alert was lifted within an hour and a half. Russian drones have targeted the city three of the last six nights.

  • Besides Mr. Zelensky, other Ukrainian officials categorically denied Russia’s claim. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Mr. Zelensky, suggested in a statement to The New York Times that Russia would use the claim to launch a “large-scale terrorist provocation” against Ukraine in the coming days.

  • There have been a string of drone strikes and acts of sabotage on Russian territory since Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, including a car bombing outside Moscow that killed the daughter of a prominent pro-war Russian commentator last August. Ukraine denied involvement in the car bombing at the time, but U.S. intelligence agencies believe that parts of the Ukrainian government authorized the attack.

  • Ukraine appears to be intensifying attacks on Russian military strongholds before an expected counteroffensive. Explosions hit targets in and near occupied Crimea overnight. In the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, a 58-hour stay-at-home order has been imposed because of threats posed by Russian forces, a Ukrainian official said.

Johanna Lemola contributed reporting.

Claire Moses

May 3, 2023, 5:45 p.m. ET


Credit…Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva, via Associated Press

AMSTERDAM — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine unexpectedly traveled to the Netherlands on Wednesday and was scheduled to speak in The Hague on Thursday, according to the Dutch wire service ANP.

Mr. Zelensky made the trip after spending much of Wednesday denying Russian claims his country was responsible for an early morning drone attack on the Kremlin, saying that Ukraine was focused on the fight on its own soil. “We’re defending our villages and cities,” he said, while visiting Nordic leaders in Helsinki, Finland.

In the Netherlands, Mr. Zelensky was also expected to meet with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and to visit the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir V. Putin and a Russian official for war crimes in March.

The visit, which had not been reported until hours before his arrival, was Mr. Zelensky’s first in-person visit to the Netherlands as the leader of Ukraine. Mr. Zelensky addressed the Dutch House of Representatives over video in March 2022, when he asked lawmakers to stop doing business with Russia and to send more munitions.

Mr. Zelensky has made few overseas trips since the Russian invasion began, including a tour of Britain, France and Belgium in February and a Washington trip in December 2022. Earlier on Wednesday, he met with Nordic leaders in Finland, and he was scheduled to take an official state visit to Germany on May 13, according to Berlin’s police department.

Mr. Zelensky is expected to make a speech titled “No Peace Without Justice for Ukraine” in The Hague on Thursday, according to ANP.

The Ukrainian president has long urged that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and the officials who helped bring war to Ukraine be held accountable by international law. He and other Ukrainian officials have proposed that European leaders set up a special tribunal for that purpose, one that could work alongside the International Criminal Court but bypass its long, onerous prosecution process.

Mr. Zelensky referred to such a tribunal on Wednesday, as he rejected Russia’s accusations, which framed the explosions at the Kremlin as an assassination attempt on Mr. Putin.

“We didn’t attack Putin,” he said. And as for the Russian leader’s fate, he said, “We leave it to the tribunal.”

Johanna Lemola contributed reporting from Helsinki, Finland.

Anushka Patil

May 3, 2023, 5:26 p.m. ET


An undersea fiber optic cable placed off the coast of Spain in 2017. A NATO official warned that such cables could be at risk of Russian sabotage. Credit…Ander Gillenea/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Moscow is actively mapping NATO’s critical infrastructure systems and could target the undersea cables that help provide Western nations with everything from internet service to gas supplies, NATO’s top intelligence official warned on Wednesday.

There is “significant” risk that Russia could pursue such sabotage to “disrupt Western life and gain leverage against those nations that are providing support to Ukraine,” NATO’s assistant secretary general for intelligence and security, David Cattler, told reporters.

Moscow is increasing its patrols in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as in the North Sea and around the Baltics, Mr. Cattler said, adding that Russia was “more active than we’ve seen them in years in this domain.” He said he could not offer specifics on how complete Moscow’s mapping efforts were.

Targeting infrastructure is a common military strategy for Russia. Over the winter, it sought to grind down Ukraine’s resistance by relentlessly assaulting the country’s power grid, upending civilian life and leaving millions without light, heat or water.

The vulnerability of underwater infrastructure became a particularly high-profile international concern last September, after explosions damaged two Nord Stream gas pipelines. Who exactly sabotaged the pipelines, which delivered Russian gas to Europe through the Baltic Sea, remains a mystery.

In an illustration of the risks facing Western information and security systems, just 400 or so undersea cables are responsible for more than 95 percent of the world’s internet traffic, Mr. Cattler noted. Those cables carry approximately $10 trillion in financial transactions each day, he said.

In response to heightened concerns, NATO established a center to coordinate security efforts for critical undersea infrastructure in February. Its leader, Lt. Gen. Hans-Werner Wiermann, said on Wednesday that the alliance was increasing the number of ships on patrol in the North and Baltic seas and was seeking to advance its undersea surveillance capabilities.

“The threat is real,” General Wiermann said, “and our reliance on this infrastructure is growing.”

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 4:35 p.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

The United States Embassy in Kyiv issued a warning that there is a heightened risk of Russian missile attacks, including in the capital, citing “the recent uptick in strikes across Ukraine and inflammatory rhetoric from Moscow.” The embassy urged U.S. citizens to observe air alarms, shelter appropriately and follow guidance from local authorities.

May 3, 2023, 4:25 p.m. ET

Johanna Lemola

Reporting from Helsinki, Finland


Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, center, during a news conference with Nordic leaders in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday.Credit…Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine denied on Wednesday that his country was responsible for an early morning drone attack on the Kremlin, saying that Russia was blaming Ukraine because it had lost other means of mustering domestic support for its invasion of his country.

“Russia has no victories to report,” Mr. Zelensky said during a visit to Helsinki, the Finnish capital, where he met with the leaders of five Nordic nations. Speaking through an interpreter, he said that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, had resorted to claims that Ukraine attempted to assassinate him because he had failed on the battlefield and lost the respect of the world.

“Because of that, he has to do some unexpected moves like surprise drone attacks,” Mr. Zelensky said in response to a question about Russia’s claim that it had destroyed two Ukrainian drones that had been aimed at Mr. Putin’s residence at the sprawling Kremlin fortress in central Moscow.

Mr. Zelensky flatly denied that his country had carried out any such attack, saying Ukraine was focused on the fight on its own soil. “We’re defending our villages and cities,” he said.

Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky added, did not have the weapons to spare on such an attack and that it would be up to an eventual international tribunal to decide the Russian leader’s fate.

“We didn’t attack Putin,” he said. “We leave it to the tribunal.”

Mr. Zelensky was in Finland to meet with Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, and the leaders of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland to discuss topics including the war in Ukraine and the country’s bid to join NATO. For most of the first year of the war set off by Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Mr. Zelensky remained in Ukraine, but has made a handful of international trips since visiting the United States and Poland in December.

During a news conference with the Nordic leaders, Mr. Zelensky congratulated Finland for joining NATO, a process it completed last month, and wished Sweden a speedy completion to its bid to becoming NATO’s 32nd member nation.

“Ukraine can and must be the 33rd member,” he said. “We understand that at a time of aggression, it’s impossible to fulfill Ukraine’s accession to the alliance, but there is no obstacle to it.”

May 3, 2023, 4:21 p.m. ET


Residents of Kyiv have grown used to the threat of war, even as Russia promises stepped up attacks.Credit…Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA, via Shutterstock

The cafes in Kyiv were buzzing on Wednesday evening, and the streets were crowded with people enjoying the warm spring weather as they strolled past terraces brightened by flowers in full bloom.

Many people checked their phones, saw the news of drones exploding above the Kremlin, and noted the latest bluster from Moscow threatening to attack Kyiv. Then they went back to what they were doing.

In Kyiv, living under threat is now part of daily life.

At roughly the same time that two drones were blowing up over the Kremlin in Moscow early Wednesday, the dark sky in Kyiv was being lit up by tracer fire and explosions thundered over the capital city as Ukrainian air defenses shot down the latest swarm of Russian attack drones.

The assault came on the same day the Ukrainian government noted that Kyiv’s population had almost returned to prewar levels. Officials said 3.6 million people now call Kyiv home, just short of the 3.9 million who lived there in February 2022, on the eve of Russia’s invasion.

Fourteen months of missile strikes and drone attacks, wailing sirens and booming air defenses have taken a toll on the city’s residents, even if it isn’t immediately apparent.

Anna Vinogradova, a choreographer, described the surreal juxtaposition of a recent attack: Rockets flew over her building as she lay in bed, listening to the birds sing outside her window and watching the sun come up.

Tuesday night was worse.

“We live in the city center, and last night was very loud,” she said. “I had a nightmare that the Russians entered our apartment, and I had to defend myself and kill them.”

She wasn’t sure what to expect when night fell again, as Russia reserved the right to retaliate.

“Today, I’m very tired, and I’m afraid the coming night will not be quiet,” she said. “Still, I’m following my usual routine: going to read and go to bed.”

Edward WongDaniel Victor

May 3, 2023, 4:03 p.m. ET


Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington in March.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Wednesday that the U.S. government remained “intensely engaged” in efforts to get Moscow to free Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been held for more than a month on espionage charges that his employer and American officials vehemently deny.

Speaking at a World Press Freedom Day event at The Washington Post, Mr. Blinken reiterated that President Biden and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had a “special channel” for discussing prisoners.

“I wish I could say in this moment there was a clear way forward,” he said. “I don’t have that in this moment.”

“We have a country in the case of Russia that like a handful of other countries around the world is wrongfully detaining people, using them as political pawns, using them as leverage in a practice that is absolutely unacceptable and that we’re working both broadly to try to deter — but also at the same time to try to secure the release of those who are being unjustly detained,” Mr. Blinken said.

He added that the State Department was working on getting Russia to allow more consular visits with Mr. Gershkovich, who has had only one to date. The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne M. Tracy, was able to meet with him on April 17.


The Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich, center, in a Moscow court on April 18. The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne M. Tracy, is at right.Credit…Maxim Shipenkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

That visit came more than two weeks after he was detained, and followed repeated State Department calls for Russia to grant access. Consular access has been a consistent problem for Americans jailed in Russia. It was an issue with Brittney Griner, the basketball star who was detained shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of last year. She was freed in a prisoner swap in December.

Mr. Gershkovich is being held at Moscow’s infamous Lefortovo Prison, where inmates are held in isolation with rare visits by lawyers. He has appeared in public just once, to declare his innocence from inside a glass defendant’s cage in a courtroom on April 18. As expected, a judge denied his appeal to lift his pretrial detention and sent him back to Lefortovo.

At a United Nations event on Tuesday, the publisher of The Journal, Almar Latour, condemned the lack of consular access to Mr. Gershkovich, which he said had been “limited or delayed significantly.”

He said Mr. Gershkovich’s Russian lawyers had told Journal officials that he was receiving letters in jail.

“We have heard from them that Evan is thankful and is reading every letter he is getting,” Mr. Latour said.

At the press freedom event, David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist, pressed Mr. Blinken on when the State Department might make a formal determination that a Russian journalist and Post contributor, Vladimir Kara-Murza, had been wrongfully imprisoned by Russia. Mr. Ignatius pointed out that Mr. Kara-Murza has been a permanent resident of the United States and that his wife and two children are U.S. citizens.

“I don’t want to put a time frame on it,” Mr. Blinken said. “Again, it’s something that we’re looking at constantly.”

Michael Crowley

May 3, 2023, 3:59 p.m. ET


Ukrainian soldiers of the 114th Brigade Territorial Defense Forces during training in the Kyiv region in February.Credit…Emile Ducke for The New York Times

The Biden administration will send an additional $300 million in military aid to Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Wednesday, offering reinforcements to Kyiv as it prepares for a widely expected counteroffensive in the coming weeks.

In a statement, Mr. Blinken said the U.S. would draw down arms and equipment from its military stockpiles for the 37th time. The latest package includes ammunition for howitzer cannons and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.

It will also include “artillery and tank ammunition, anti-tank weapons, rockets, small arms and ammunition, trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment, and spare parts and other field equipment essential to strengthening Ukraine’s defenders on the battlefield,” Mr. Blinken said.

In April, the U.S. pledged $2.6 billion in aid, including $500 million in weapons and equipment from U.S. stockpiles and $2.1 billion it would use to buy more for Ukraine in the future.

Mr. Blinken said in the statement that the U.S. and its allies “will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes.”

Drawdowns from U.S. stockpiles are not subject to congressional approval. But the announcement came a day after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said in Israel, “I support aid for Ukraine.”

Mr. McCarthy had previously said that there would be no “blank check” for Ukraine, and some Republican members of Congress have called for curtailing American assistance to Kyiv. A spending bill passed in December allocated nearly $50 billion to Ukraine.

Whether the U.S. and its Western allies continue providing billions of dollars in military aid could depend on whether Ukraine’s counteroffensive is successful in reclaiming substantial territory from Russian forces, analysts say.

May 3, 2023, 3:44 p.m. ET


Video player loading

Footage verified by The New York Times shows what appears to be a drone exploding above the Kremlin. About 15 minutes later, what appears to be a second drone explodes.CreditCredit…Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Video footage verified by The Times shows what appear to be two drones exploding minutes apart above the Kremlin early Wednesday, in what Russian officials claim was a Ukrainian attack, which Ukraine denies.

Videos show two aerial objects flying toward the domed roof of one of the compound’s buildings, with one coming from the south and the second approaching 15 minutes later from the east. Both exploded, and one caused a brief fire, though it is unclear if the explosions happened on impact or just prior.

Samuel Bendett, an expert on autonomous military systems in the Russian Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded organization in Arlington, Va., said that if the objects were drones, it was not possible to determine where they were launched based on the direction of the attack, as their trajectory could have changed as they neared the Kremlin.

Russia said that it downed the drones, that the damage from the explosions was minimal and that no one was injured. Mr. Bendett said that it was unclear from the videos whether the objects exploded as planned or were shot down by air defenses. He added that one of them appeared to be “sizable.”

Mr. Bendett said a drone attack by Ukraine would have been undertaken primarily for psychological effect, to show that even the Kremlin was not safe.

Footage of the aftermath of the attacks was published by a local Moscow Telegram channel. Later, TV Centre, a Russian news outlet, posted videos of both explosions, including the moments of detonation above the Kremlin.

While there have been drone attacks in Russian territory since Moscow invaded Ukraine more than a year ago, a strike on the Kremlin by Ukraine would be a significant escalation. Current and former U.S. officials told The Times that the explosions could be a false flag operation carried out by Russia, but that it was too soon to know. Officials said U.S. intelligence agencies were still trying to determine what happened.

The Russian presidential press service said it regarded the explosions as a “planned terrorist act and an attempt on the life” of President Vladimir V. Putin. In a statement, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, strongly denied responsibility for the explosions, saying that Ukraine does “not attack targets on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

The domed Kremlin structure houses the Russian Senate, as well as Mr. Putin’s office and an apartment he sometimes stays at, along with a ceremonial hall and the presidential library. Russian officials said that Mr. Putin was at his compound in a Moscow suburb about 20 miles from the Kremlin at the time of the explosions.

Flying drones over the Kremlin was already banned. Some 12 hours after video of the incident began spreading online, Moscow’s mayor announced on Telegram a ban on the launch of drones in the entire city.

Christina Kelso contributed video production.

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 2:41 p.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

The death toll in Russian strikes on the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and the surrounding region has reached 21, President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter. Officials have imposed a 58-hour curfew in and around the city starting on Friday night.

May 3, 2023, 2:05 p.m. ET

Johanna Lemola

Reporting from Helsinki, Finland

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who has denied that his country was behind any attack on the Kremlin, appeared at a news conference with Nordic leaders at the presidential palace in Finland on Wednesday. Asked why Russia would accuse Ukraine, Zelensky answered through an interpreter that Russia “has no victories to report” and that Putin must find other ways to maintain Russian morale. “Because of that, he has to do some unexpected moves like surprise drone attacks,” Zelensky said.


Credit…Janis Laizans/Reuters

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 1:57 p.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

After a day of intense shelling in the southern port city of Kherson, the death toll has risen to 18 with another 46 people injured, Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to the Ukrainian president, said in a statement. Ukrainian officials have imposed a 58-hour curfew in and around the city, starting Friday night and stretching until Monday morning. People have been ordered to stay in their homes for security reasons, officials said.

Eric Schmitt

May 3, 2023, 1:54 p.m. ET

Eric Schmitt

A senior U.S. military official said the Pentagon had not detected any unusual Russian air, land or sea military movements in or around Ukraine since the Kremlin accused Ukraine of a drone attack. But U.S. analysts are monitoring the situation closely, the official said.

Neil MacFarquhar

May 3, 2023, 1:50 p.m. ET


The Kremlin complex sits in the center of Moscow, and contains the Russian president’s official residence and main office.Credit…Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

President Vladimir V. Putin has long operated within the confines of a tight security bubble, which became even tighter and more isolating during the coronavirus pandemic. The sprawling red fortress of the Kremlin, which Russian officials claimed was the target of a Ukrainian drone attack on Wednesday, contains both the president’s official residence and his main office, making it the heart of that bubble.

The agency responsible for protecting the president, the Federal Guard Service — known by its Russian initials, F.S.O. — rarely confirms Mr. Putin’s whereabouts or discusses his movements. It sometimes closes areas adjacent to the Kremlin, particularly Red Square, to the public.

Over the past few years, drones have been banned from flying over the Kremlin and the surrounding area. Security officers deploy special devices to down any in the vicinity.

When the Russians claimed to take out two Ukrainian drones above the Kremlin — around 2:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, according to videos reviewed by The New York Times — Mr. Putin was at a sprawling compound about 20 miles to the west, his spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters. The compound is located in the elite suburb of Novo-Ogaryovo, along the Moscow River.

Mr. Putin travels frequently between the compound and the Kremlin in a lengthy motorcade. The rich residents of nearby compounds grumble quietly that the F.S.O. closes the road to other traffic while the president is in transit.

Russian media reports have suggested that, since the start of the coronavirus crisis, Mr. Putin has spent more time at the compound or at another rural spread northeast of Moscow, near Lake Valdai.


Vladimir Putin’s motorcade approaching the Kremlin in March.Credit…Natalia Kolesnikova/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

While the vast grounds of the Kremlin contain the official presidential residence, it is more ceremonial than practical. Only recently did Mr. Putin publicly mention the existence of a private apartment that he claimed to use frequently — an unusual instance of him discussing his living arrangements.

“I have an apartment here, where I have been spending a lot of time lately, working, spending nights very often,” he told reporters when President Xi Jinping of China visited Moscow at the end of March.

Both his main office and his apartment are in the Senate Palace, a yellow domed structure that was visible in video footage showing what appears to be a drone exploding. The palace also contains Catherine Hall, a soaring blue and white circular reception room where Mr. Putin holds ceremonies, such as handing out state awards, and the dome itself covers the presidential library.

The Kremlin fortress holds various tourist attractions, like a museum of Czarist artifacts and jewels, and a medieval Russian Orthodox church where some czars are interred. It is also the central working venue of the presidential administration, although only the closest advisers to Mr. Putin spend time working near his office. The rest are in an office building outside the Kremlin walls.

Even when Mr. Putin appears to be in the Kremlin, he may not actually be there, according to a former F.S.O. captain who defected. The Russian president has established identical offices in multiple locations, all furnished and decorated the same in every detail, including matching desks and wall hangings, according to the former captain, Gleb Karakulov. Official reports have sometimes described him as being in one place when he was actually somewhere else, Mr. Karakulov told a London-based opposition news outlet, the Dossier Center, in early April.

The security measures around the Kremlin can obfuscate others’ locations, too. Since the advent of G.P.S. tracking, the signal in the vicinity of the fortress sometimes disappears or is teleported to an airport more than 20 miles outside Moscow. Taxi fares have been known to jump accordingly, as if the passenger traveled to the airport, not central Moscow.

Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting.

Neil MacFarquhar

May 3, 2023, 1:32 p.m. ET

Neil MacFarquhar

The Kremlin was the site of one of the most spectacular breaches of Soviet air defenses during the Cold War. In May 1987, an 18-year-old German managed to fly a Cessna from Finland, over Estonia, and land it in Red Square — ostensibly on a peace mission.


Credit…Associated Press

May 3, 2023, 1:18 p.m. ET

Haley Willis

Video journalist

Two drones exploded at the Kremlin around 2:30 a.m., according to videos reviewed by The Times.

Anton Troianovski

May 3, 2023, 1:06 p.m. ET


Credit…Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

Whatever the provenance of the two drones that approached the Kremlin early Wednesday morning, one thing was clear: The Russian government wanted the world to know about them.

The Kremlin made a deliberate choice to quickly make public what it claimed was a drone attack aimed at assassinating President Vladimir V. Putin. It published an unusual, five-paragraph statement on its website that named the Ukrainian government as the perpetrator and asserted the right to retaliate against Kyiv.

The Ukrainian government denied any involvement in the alleged episode and there was no way to independently confirm the Kremlin’s claim of an attack.

The Kremlin’s messaging diverged significantly from its response to previous episodes involving attacks on Russia or Russian-occupied territory. They include last August’s car bombing outside Moscow that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of a leading Russian ultranationalist; the explosion in October that damaged the bridge linking Russia to the occupied peninsula of Crimea; and the assassination of a pro-Kremlin military blogger in St. Petersburg last month.

In those cases, the fiery attacks on prominent Russian targets were impossible to ignore, but the Kremlin did not publish a lengthy statement about them.

This time, the Russian government’s publicity was made all the more notable by the fact that reports on social media of explosive sounds in central Moscow early Wednesday had attracted little attention before the Kremlin’s statement. And publicizing the alleged attack came with a downside: Even though there was no evidence of serious damage, the apparent ability of two unmanned aircraft to penetrate central Moscow’s defenses and approach the Kremlin served as the latest embarrassment for a Russian military that has suffered numerous failures throughout the war.

“The last time the enemy bombed Moscow was in 1942,” said one widely circulated post on Wednesday by a pro-Kremlin blogger.

Now the question is whether Russia will use the incident to justify more and even deadlier strikes against Ukraine. Russia escalated its bombardment of Ukrainian infrastructure after last year’s blast on the bridge to Crimea, and pro-Kremlin voices on social media on Wednesday quickly called for new retaliation.

“We will demand the use of weapons capable of stopping and destroying the Kyiv terrorist regime,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Russia’s lower house of Parliament.

The drone incident comes at a particularly tense moment in Russia’s 14-month war. Ukraine is gearing up to launch a counteroffensive against Russian troops dug in in Ukraine’s south and east. Mr. Putin is preparing for a major public appearance next Tuesday, when Russia celebrates the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, Russia’s main patriotic holiday.

By trumpeting the attack rather than denying it, Russian officials were acknowledging their “lack of air defenses, their vulnerability, weakness and helplessness,” Leonid Volkov, an exiled associate of the imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, wrote in a social media post. “That means they found some pluses in this and, evaluating them, decided that the pluses would be able to outweigh the minuses.”

Those “pluses” could be to galvanize Russians into more fervently backing the war effort, or to presage a new escalation, Mr. Volkov wrote. The Kremlin’s statement on the attack said Russia reserved the right for “retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit.”

There were no further details on what those measures might be or on Mr. Putin’s next moves. Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, refused to even confirm whether the president would return to the Kremlin on Thursday after working from his suburban Moscow residence on Wednesday.

“We’ll let you know in due time,” Mr. Peskov said, according to Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency.

May 3, 2023, 12:04 p.m. ET

Johanna Lemola

Reporting from Helsinki, Finland

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, on a visit to Finland, said his country did not attack the Kremlin. “We don’t attack Putin or Moscow,” he told the Nordic broadcaster TV2. “We fight on our territory. We’re defending our villages and cities. We don’t have enough weapons for these.” Dealing with Putin, he added, would be left to an international tribunal.

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 11:38 a.m. ET


A Ukrainian soldier on the outskirts of Ivanivske, in eastern Ukraine, last month. Ukraine has been expected to start a counteroffensive to retake territory lost to Russian forces last year.Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

The Russian claim that Ukraine targeted the Kremlin with attack drones comes at a pivotal moment in the war, with Ukraine readying tens of thousands of soldiers and stepping up strikes aimed at weakening Russian forces before an expected counteroffensive.

Ukrainian officials denied Russia’s claim, with one senior official warning that it was an attempt by the Kremlin to set the stage for “a large-scale terrorist provocation in the coming days.”

“Russia is extremely fearful of Ukraine launching an offensive and is trying to seize the initiative,” said the official, Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukrainian officials emphasize that Moscow has often used misinformation and lies to justify its invasion, rally support at home and cover up its shortcomings during the 14-month-old conflict — which it launched based on the false claim that the Ukrainian government was run by Nazis.

As another example, when Russian forces were forced to withdraw from parts of the southern Kherson region in the fall, Moscow sought to frame its military failure as a “gesture of good will.”

While Moscow’s monthslong effort to advance in eastern Ukraine has gained little ground, Ukraine has stepped up its attacks on Russian targets in recent days. It has claimed responsibility for attacks on Russian supply lines, oil depots, ammunition dumps, command centers and concentrations of soldiers across occupied parts of Ukraine, including in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

It was too soon to assess the impact of the recent strikes on Russia’s combat capabilities, which have been severely degraded after more than a year of combat and heavy losses. But a similar campaign last year helped pave the way for successful Ukrainian counterattacks.

Ahead of the looming counteroffensive, there has also been an uptick in explosions at military-related sites inside Russia itself, with local Russian officials quick to blame Ukraine. Kyiv has maintained a policy of strategic ambiguity on attacks in Russia, often celebrating them while not taking direct responsibility.

Now, Ukrainian officials say, Moscow is also trying to undermine Western support for Kyiv by raising the specter of escalation — something Russia has previously done when suffering military failures.

Even though Ukraine denied involvement in any attack on the Kremlin, some inside Russia were already calling for an intensification of violence. In a social media post, Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Russia’s lower house of Parliament, said on Wednesday: “We will demand the use of weapons capable of stopping and destroying the Kyiv terrorist regime.”

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 11:37 a.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

Yurii Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said that his personal opinion was that Russia had staged the attack on the Kremlin to try to “show some kind of escalation on the part of Ukraine.” Russia is constantly promoting similar false narratives to try and paint Ukraine as the aggressor, he said in an appearance on national television.“They even say that we are hitting our residential buildings with missiles,” he said.

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 11:21 a.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

Shortly after the Kremlin made public its claim of the drone attack, air raid alarms wailed across Kyiv. But that is by now a grimly familiar sound in the Ukrainian capital, which Russia first tried to seize and having failed at that, bombard into submission. And Russian drones have targeted the city three of the last six nights. The alert was lifted by 6 p.m. local time.

Julian E. BarnesAdam Entous

May 3, 2023, 11:19 a.m. ET


Part of the Kremlin complex, next to the Moskva River, in Moscow on Wednesday.Credit…Associated Press

The United States had no advance warning of the purported drone strike on the Kremlin, according to two American officials briefed on the situation.

The officials could offer no details about the claimed incident. The U.S. government, they added, has not determined what actually happened.

The Biden administration has been concerned about the possibility of a Ukrainian strike on the Kremlin, because of fears that any such attack could trigger a dramatic escalation in the war. Among a trove of U.S. intelligence documents leaked recently on the Discord social media site was a slide created by the Defense Intelligence Agency examining possible Russian responses to an attack on the Kremlin, from escalating the conflict to negotiating a settlement. The document did not offer any analysis of which of the various responses was more likely.

Ukrainian officials are not always transparent with their American counterparts about their plans for military operations, especially those that take place on Russian territory.

Current and former officials said it was possible the reported attack could be a false flag operation carried out by Russia, but that it was too soon to know. The United States exposed a series of so-called false flag operations Russia planned ahead of the invasion of Ukraine, designed to create a pretext for Russia to attack Ukraine.

“Russia may be fabricating this to use as a pretext to target President Zelensky,” said Mick Mulroy, a former top Pentagon official and C.I.A. officer. “Something they have tried to do in the past.”

Lara Jakes

May 3, 2023, 11:06 a.m. ET


European Union Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton speaking in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday.Credit…Olivier Matthys/EPA, via Shutterstock

Aging European weapons factories could receive a boost of 500 million euros ($551 million) under a new plan announced by the European Union on Wednesday that would upgrade and expand production and, potentially, speed more ammunition to Ukraine.

The proposal largely seeks to ramp up weapons production for European militaries for years to come. But it also could help the economic bloc’s member nations meet a deadline to deliver a million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine this year, said Thierry Breton, the European Union’s trade commissioner.

It does not, however, settle an internal rift over whether a separate E.U. fund could be used to buy munitions from outside Europe — including the United States and South Korea — to make good on the promise to Ukraine.

Announcing the new plan in Brussels, Mr. Breton said Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine had exposed shortfalls in Europe’s defense industry, and the effect that years of relative peace had taken on its production capacity.

In recent visits to 11 European countries, Mr. Breton toured weapons manufacturers that he said could still build the kinds of ammunition that Ukraine needs most — namely NATO-caliber 155-millimeter rounds and Soviet-era 122-millimeter shells — but not quickly.

“When it comes to the timing, it’s not aligned with our immediate needs,” he said. “And that’s why we needed to give them a boost.”

“The European defense industry has to see how we can move into this war economy mode, and they’re not ready for that yet,” Mr. Breton said. “So the will is there, but they’re not ready yet in practice.”

Beyond providing the money to weapons producers, the plan also requires closer monitoring of supply chains to make sure that gunpowder, parts, machinery and other equipment needed to build ammunition is not delayed.

Only weapons manufacturers in the E.U. and Norway — a major ammunition producer — are eligible for the new funding because it comes out of the bloc’s operating budget.

The new plan comes on top of an earlier, €2 billion proposal in March that set the 12-month deadline for supplying ammunition to Ukraine.

At that point, officials said arms manufacturers in the E. U. were able to produce about 650,000 rounds of all types of ammunition annually. Experts have said production of 155-millimeter shells — in high demand in Ukraine — amounted to about 300,000 rounds in 2022.

Importantly, Mr. Breton said that the one million rounds could include different types of munitions — whether 155-millimeter caliber shells, missiles or otherwise. That is a shift from comments made in March by E.U. officials who said then that the goal was to arm Ukraine with one million 155-millimeter shells this year.

Although Mr. Breton expressed anew on Wednesday that the deadline would be met — he said he was “confident” that Europe could scale up production to meet its goal — other E.U. member states are skeptical.

That has set off a disagreement over whether funds allocated to the earlier €2 billion proposal should be used to buy ammunition from producers outside Europe. Half of the money in that plan would also be used to reimburse member states that are donating ammunition from their own military stockpiles.

In the meantime, Mr. Breton said, the new funds could be approved as soon as next month if, as expected, the plan introduced on Wednesday breezes through the bloc’s sometimes complex lawmaking process.

But it could take months or even years before Europe’s defense industry can churn out the number of munitions that Ukraine desperately needs, given the time it takes to buy new machines, build new warehouses and hire skilled workers to produce them.

Camille Grand, a former NATO assistant secretary general for defense investment who now works at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the new proposal would have a “very positive role” in supplying Ukraine. But, he added, “I’m not 100 percent sure that it will have an immediate effect.”

Edward Wong

May 3, 2023, 10:33 a.m. ET

Edward Wong

The U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, was asked at a public event at The Washington Post about the Kremlin reports of a drone attack. He answered: “I’ve seen the reports. I can’t in any way validate them. We simply don’t know.” He added: “I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt.”

Edward Wong

May 3, 2023, 10:36 a.m. ET

Edward Wong

When asked about the U.S. position on any possible attacks by Ukraine on Russia, he said, “These are decisions for Ukraine to make about how it’s going to defend itself.”


Video player loading

CreditCredit…Washington Post Live

Edward Wong

May 3, 2023, 10:41 a.m. ET

Edward Wong

Blinken was also asked how the U.S government assessed Ukraine’s likelihood of success in its expected spring counteroffensive. He said that any analysis of Ukraine’s capabilities was “not static” and that the Pentagon had been working with more than 50 partner nations over many months to bolster the country. “I feel confident they will have success in regaining more of their territory,” he said.

May 3, 2023, 10:30 a.m. ET

Haley Willis

Video journalist

Videos verified by The New York Times show what appears to be a drone flying toward and exploding over the Kremlin Senate building. By synchronizing the footage, Times reporters were able to confirm that two videos filmed from different angles captured the same explosion over the building, which houses the president’s executive office. Another video shows the dome of the building on fire.

Anton Troianovski

May 3, 2023, 9:55 a.m. ET

Anton Troianovski

Even though Ukraine has denied involvement, pro-Kremlin voices are already calling for revenge. In a social media post, Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Russia’s lower house of Parliament, said: “We will demand the use of weapons capable of stopping and destroying the Kyiv terrorist regime.”

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 9:55 a.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

An adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky denied Moscow’s claim that Ukraine had targeted the Kremlin with drones. “Ukraine definitely has nothing to do with the drone attacks on the Kremlin,” the adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said in a statement to The New York Times.

May 3, 2023, 9:41 a.m. ET

Johanna Lemola

Reporting from Helsinki, Finland

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is in Finland today on a rare trip outside the country. In a joint news conference with Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, Mr. Zelensky thanked Finland for its continuous support of “our freedom and territorial integrity and sovereignty.” The alleged attack on the Kremlin did not come up at the news conference.


Credit…Kimmo Brandt/EPA, via Shutterstock

Neil MacFarquhar

May 3, 2023, 9:37 a.m. ET

Neil MacFarquhar

Putin has established identical offices in multiple locations, all furnished and decorated the same in every detail, with matching desks and wall hangings, according to Gleb Karakulov, a captain in the Federal Protection Service responsible for guarding the president who defected and recently gave interviews about his experiences. In live broadcasts it would be impossible to discern where he was.

Neil MacFarquhar

May 3, 2023, 9:38 a.m. ET

Neil MacFarquhar

Official reports sometimes described Putin as being in one place when he was actually somewhere else, Mr. Karakulov told the opposition news outlet the Dossier Center in early April.

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 9:29 a.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Zelensky, said that the claim of an attempted drone attack on the Kremlin was a sign that “Russia is clearly preparing a large-scale terrorist attack.”


Credit…Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 9:01 a.m. ET

Marc Santora

Reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine

A spokesman for Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told Radio Liberty that “we have no information about the so-called night attacks on the Kremlin.” The spokesman, Sergei Nikiforov, said that “Ukraine directs all available forces and means to liberate its own territories, and not to attack others.”

Ivan Nechepurenko

May 3, 2023, 8:49 a.m. ET

Ivan Nechepurenko

Putin always operates inside a heavily guarded security bubble. His security team checks every building and office that he works in ahead of his arrival, and his main working residence, the Kremlin, has been likened to a medieval fortress.

Ivan Nechepurenko

May 3, 2023, 8:44 a.m. ET

Ivan Nechepurenko

Moscow’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said earlier on Wednesday that the authorities had banned the flying of drones over the city unless specially authorized. In a statement on the messaging app Telegram, he said the measure had been taken because such unmanned aerial vehicles could hamper the work of law enforcement agencies.


Credit…Natalia Kolesnikova/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ivan Nechepurenko

May 3, 2023, 8:41 a.m. ET

Ivan Nechepurenko

The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time of the alleged attack. Peskov said that the Russian president was working from his residence outside Moscow.

Ivan Nechepurenko

May 3, 2023, 8:31 a.m. ET

Ivan Nechepurenko

Moscow’s claim that a drone attack had targeted the Kremlin came days before the Victory Day parade on Red Square, a highly symbolic annual demonstration of military power in Russia. The Kremlin said that the event would still take place as planned.

Matthew Mpoke BiggIvan Nechepurenko

May 3, 2023, 8:00 a.m. ET


Russian authorities claimed to have disabled Ukrainian drones over the Kremlin overnight. Ukrainian officials have denied involvement in any attack.Credit…Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

The Kremlin claimed on Wednesday that Ukraine had launched a drone strike at President Vladimir V. Putin’s residence overnight. The two drones were disabled by state security services and Mr. Putin was uninjured, the Kremlin said.

It was not immediately possible to verify the Russian claim, and a Ukrainian official said Kyiv had “no information about the so-called night attacks on the Kremlin.”

In a statement, the Kremlin said it “regards these actions as a planned terrorist attack and an attempt on the president,” and reserved the right to retaliate. It said that “timely actions taken by the military and special services” had disabled the drones, causing some debris to scatter on the Kremlin grounds.

Mr. Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time of the incident, according to his spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov. There were no casualties, the Kremlin said.

If confirmed, it would be the most audacious attempted strike on Russian soil since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Local and regional authorities in Russia have reported a series of drone strikes in recent months. Some have landed close to Ukraine’s border with Russia, but at least one has hit south of Moscow. Ukraine has not acknowledged responsibility for most of the incidents. Moscow is around 280 miles northeast of the Ukrainian border at its closest point.

Last month, The Washington Post reported that the United States had secretly monitored discussions among Ukrainian officials about possible attacks against Moscow timed to coincide with the Feb. 24 anniversary of Russia’s invasion. The White House feared that such a move would provoke an aggressive response from Moscow, and two days before the anniversary, the C.I.A. said that Ukraine’s intelligence directorate “had agreed, at Washington’s request, to postpone strikes” on Moscow. The information was part of a trove of classified U.S. intelligence documents obtained by The Post and other news organizations.

Marc Santora

May 3, 2023, 7:45 a.m. ET


A wounded man at a train station hit by a Russian military strike in Kherson on Wednesday.Credit…Carlos Barria/Reuters

KYIV, Ukraine — A 58-hour stay-at-home order has been imposed for all residents living in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson because of threats posed by Russian forces, as intense shelling left 21 people dead on Wednesday.

An additional 48 people were injured, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter. Officials said the victims included a people at the central train station, shoppers at a local mall and engineering crews working to restore the area’s battered infrastructure.

The stay-at-home order, which is expected to begin on Friday evening and end on Monday, also limits freedom of movement into and out of the city. Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson regional military administration, said that residents should stock up on food, water and medicine before the curfew.

Mr. Prokudin said the measure was needed because of unspecified threats posed by Russian forces and to facilitate the unimpeded work of Ukrainian law enforcement and military.

“During these 58 hours, it is forbidden to move and be on the streets of the city,” he said.

The curfew order was among the most sweeping Ukraine has put in place since similar edicts were issued in Kyiv at the start of the invasion. The Ukrainian military ordered people off the streets for days as they worked to find spies and saboteurs and beat back the Russian advance on the capital.


Residents seeking cover near a train station in Kherson after a Russian strike on Wednesday.Credit…Carlos Barria/Reuters

Kherson has come under sustained and withering Russian bombardment since the fall, when Ukrainian forces drove the Russian troops out of the port city and the surrounding area west of the Dnipro River. It was a significant victory for Ukraine, because the city had been the only regional capital Russia had managed to capture since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion in February of last year. But the Russian forces decamped just across the river, and from there have relentlessly shelled civilian areas.

Russian units have also been building defensive positions for months. In recent weeks, the Ukrainian military has warned that Russian occupation authorities in the Kherson region have been preparing to evacuate civilians from the territory it still controls there ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Ukrainian officials said the strike on the mall took place around 11 a.m. and those injured and killed included workers and shoppers at the complex. It was part of a broader assault by Russian forces in Kherson over the past day, which saw at least 106 attacks from Russian heavy artillery, rocket launchers, tanks, drones and aircraft, according to local Ukrainian authorities.

The influential Russian military blogger Rybar claimed that Russian forces were battling Ukrainians as they sought to gain control over the islands in the sprawling estuary that now divides the two armies. The claims could not be independently verified, though there were also unconfirmed reports last month that small groups of Ukrainian soldiers had grabbed marshy islands in the river.

The mouth of the Dnipro River, which flows into the Black Sea, forms a 350-square-kilometer basin. It is 1.2 kilometers wide and with the bridges over the waterway destroyed, it is exceedingly difficult for either army to cross. South of Kherson, the river then divides into a maze of branches, divided by strips of land large enough for settlements to be built.

May 3, 2023, 5:22 a.m. ET

Johanna Lemola and Enjoli Liston


President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, left, and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland at a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Wednesday.Credit…Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva, via Associated Press

HELSINKI — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine arrived in Finland on Wednesday to meet with Nordic leaders, a rare overseas trip for the Ukrainian leader amid the Russian invasion.

In a joint news conference with Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, Mr. Zelensky thanked Finland for its continuous support of “our freedom and territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

Mr. Niinisto and Mr. Zelensky were also expected to meet with the prime ministers of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland to “discuss the situation of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine” and “the Nordic countries’ continued support for Ukraine,” as well as Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union and NATO, according to a statement from the Finnish presidency.

The Ukrainian president has made few overseas trips since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Last month he received a hero’s welcome on an official visit to Poland.

Mr. Zelensky will also travel to Germany for an official state visit on May 13, Berlin’s police department, which is tasked with providing security, said on Wednesday.

Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, became NATO’s 31st member state last month. That was a significant blow to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, who has strongly opposed the expansion of the trans-Atlantic military alliance.

Ukraine applied for NATO membership last year, but there is division among NATO countries about whether Ukraine should be offered a pathway to membership at a summit this summer.

As Ukraine is not a member, NATO only helps to coordinate Kyiv’s requests for nonmilitary assistance and supports deliveries of humanitarian aid. But individual NATO members, such as the United States and Germany, are some of the largest providers of military assistance to Ukraine.

Though the Ukrainian leader has addressed German lawmakers by video link before, his trip to Berlin would mark his first in-person visit to Germany since the Russian invasion began. Germany is one of Ukraine’s biggest donors of military aid.

Besides the official state visit, which will include talks with both Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Mr. Zelensky is also expected to attend a ceremony in the western city of Aachen, where he will be awarded the Charlemagne Prize for his work toward unifying Europe. Previous recipients of the prize include Pope Francis, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Henry A. Kissinger and Vaclav Havel.

Mr. Zelensky last visited Berlin in July 2021, where he met with the chancellor at the time, Angela Merkel.

Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2023/05/03/world/russia-ukraine-kremlin-drone-news

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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