Russia claims U.S. behind Ukraine drone attack on the Kremlin

Russia claimed Thursday that the United States was behind an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin that it said was a Ukrainian attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin.

The accusation, made without citing evidence, comes less than 24 hours after Moscow said that it had foiled an overnight drone strike on the building that acts as the heart of the country’s government and Putin’s residence — something Kyiv strongly denied.

Three American officials, speaking to NBC News on Wednesday, said the U.S. had no prior knowledge of any attack.

But on Thursday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov went further, claiming that Washington had masterminded the incident.

“We are well aware that decisions on such a level of terrorist attacks are made not in Kyiv, but in Washington,” he said in his daily briefing with reporters. “Kyiv only does what it is told to do.”

Peskov dismissed American and Ukrainian attempts to “disown” the drone incident as “absolutely ridiculous.”

A Russian investigation into the incident is ongoing, he said, adding that there are “multiple response options” the country could take, without specifying what they are. Russia’s security council, chaired by Putin, is due to meet on Friday.

“We are not attacking Putin or Moscow,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday.

“We are fighting on our own territory, defending our villages and cities,” he said at a news conference in Finland. “We do not have enough weapons even for this. That is why we do not use them elsewhere. We have a deficit. We cannot use everything and everywhere.”

Asked how Putin reacted when told of the alleged attack, Peskov said that the Russian leader “always remains calm, collected, clear in the assessments and commands that he gives out in extreme situations.” The Kremlin said earlier that Putin was not in the building at the time.

Russia has frequently accused the U.S. of making key decisions for Ukraine during the war. Putin, his officials and state media have repeatedly said that Russia is at war with the entire NATO alliance. The expansion of NATO into central and eastern European was one of the pretexts for Russia’s invasion.

The U.S. has given Ukraine more than $77 billion in military and humanitarian aid, but has sought to ensure its weapons were not used in attacks on Russian soil.

Washington announced a further $2.6 billion in funding Wednesday, including $500 million in battlefield weaponry such as artillery, tank ammunition, mortars, rockets and fuel tankers.

The news comes ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive that will see Kyiv’s military try to seize back land captured by Russian forces.

A wave of recent incidents has seen blasts hit sites inside both countries as the two sides seemingly lay the ground for the fight to come.

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