A high-rise building in Moscow’s business district that houses three Russian government ministries was struck by a drone for the second time in three days on Tuesday, in what Russia called an attempted Ukrainian “terrorist attack.”
The building that was struck is known as the “IQ quarter,” which houses the ministry of economic development, the digital ministry and the ministry of industry and trade. Video obtained by Reuters showed a section of its glass facade, high above the ground, had been destroyed by the impact.
“At the moment, experts are assessing the damage and the state of the infrastructure for the safety of people in the building. This will take some time,” Darya Levchenko, an adviser to the economy minister, said on Telegram. She said staff were working by video-conference.
Moscow has come under repeated drone attacks since early May, when two drones were fired at the roof of a building in the Kremlin complex.
While the incidents have not caused casualties or major damage, they have provoked widespread unease amid the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine is proceeding according to plan.
Ukraine hasn’t directly claimed responsibility for the attacks, although Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia should expect “more unidentified drones, more collapse, more civil conflicts, more war.”
“Moscow is rapidly getting used to a full-fledged war,” Podolyak wrote on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.
Not a direct hit, Kremlin says
In a statement, the Russian defence ministry said it had thwarted the “attempted terrorist attack” and downed two drones west of the Moscow city centre.
It said another one was foiled by jamming equipment and went “out of control” before crashing into buildings in the Moskva-Citi business district.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said it hit the same tower that had been struck on Sunday.
“The facade has been damaged on the 21st floor. Glazing was destroyed over 150 square metres,” he said.
A witness told Reuters: “We were going to see the tower where the explosion happened the day before yesterday. Suddenly there was this explosion, and we immediately ran. There were shards of glass, and then smoke rising. Then the security services starting running that way. The shards were really big.”
Vnukovo airport, one of three major airports serving the capital, briefly shut down but later resumed full operations.
Many employees working from home
After the first drone hit the business district on Sunday, tech company Yandex sent a memo to staff instructing them not to be in the office at night and urging them to “take care.” Many companies in Russia continue to allow employees to work in hybrid mode, split between home and the office, following the lockdowns imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Ukrainian attacks on Moscow and other targets inside Russia were “acts of desperation” and that Russia was taking all measures possible to protect against strikes.
Kyiv typically does not claim responsibility for specific incidents on Russian territory, and did not claim Sunday’s attack, though President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the war was “gradually returning to Russia’s territory — to its symbolic centres.”
Two drones reached the Kremlin in May, the most high-profile incident, but other attacks have targeted buildings near the defence ministry’s headquarters on the Moscow River and the capital’s exclusive Rublyovka suburb, home to much of Russia’s political, business and cultural elite.