Moscow Blames Ukraine for a Series of Drone Attacks Inside Russia

Putin told the FSB to step up its efforts to counter sabotage attacks, which he alleged Western countries were involved in

Russian authorities on Tuesday reported a series of Ukrainian drone attacks across the country, including one that fell within 60 miles southeast of Moscow, hundreds of miles from the Ukrainian border.

A Russian official said the Ukrainian drone near Moscow attempted to target a gas facility. According to pictures of the wreckage, it was a Ukrainian-made drone that could fly up to 500 miles.

Drone incidents were also reported in the Bryansk and Belgorod Oblasts, which both border Ukraine. In Bryansk, authorities said one Ukrainian drone was shot down. In Belgorod, three drone attacks were reported, including one that flew through an apartment building.

There were no casualties in any of the incidents, but they could reflect a stepped-up effort by Ukraine to launch more attacks inside Russia. Ukraine has maintained a policy of ambiguity around its operations in Russia by only hinting at responsibility and not officially confirming it, although unnamed Ukrainian officials speaking to the media have taken credit for previous attacks.

In December, Ukraine launched a series of drone attacks deep inside Russia that targeted air bases, including the Engels airfield is about 300 miles from the Ukrainian border. NATO military sources told Asia Times that Ukraine employed drones in the attacks that used US satellite GPS data to hit their targets.

Also on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the FSB security service to step up its efforts against “sabotage groups” that entered Russia from Ukraine and claimed Western intelligence services were involved in operations inside Russia.

“Western intelligence services have traditionally always been active in Russia, and now they have thrown additional personnel, technical and other resources at us. We need to respond accordingly,” he said.

In December, investigative journalist Jack Murphy published a report on his website that alleged the CIA has been using a European NATO country’s intelligence services to conduct sabotage attacks inside Russia. 

In his address to the FSB, Putin said “countering terrorist threats” was a priority of the agency and said there has been a “growing number of such crimes.” He attributed the incidents to Ukraine as well as “attempts by the West to revive extremist and terrorist cells formed by their so-called old-time friends on our territory.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.