Russia strikes Ukraine with ‘for Moscow’ drones killing at least 23

Russia claims 7 British mercenaries killed in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin on Thursday sought bloody revenge for what he claimed was an attempt on his life by launching multiple rocket attacks on Ukrainian’s capital and other cities.

A day after Russia accused Ukraine and its allies of carrying out a drone strike on the Kremlin, missiles were launched on targets in Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia and Odesa.

Kamikaze drones with “for Moscow” and “for the Kremlin” scrawled on them were used.

Putin’s retribution was predictably swift and brutal. Just hours after Wednesday’s strikes, Russia attacked Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, killing some 23 people.

Officials said that the victims included supermarket customers and energy company workers who were performing repairs.

Then, in the early hours of Thursday, air raid sirens began ringing out across Ukraine, with blasts reported in Kyiv and Odesa. Casualty numbers are not yet clear.

The US denied Russian claims that it “masterminded” the alleged drone attack on the Kremlin. But one pro-Russian politician blamed Britain for the increase in sabotage attacks.

On Russian state-controlled TV, Spiridon Kilinkarov said: “It seems to me that the British are to a large extent engaged in this.

“That’s what I think because they are major specialists at this.”

Meanwhile, after denying responsibility for the Kremlin attack, Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelensky was meeting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague.

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Mr Zelensky also made a speech at the International Criminal Court, which is investigating Putin for war crimes. Mr Zelensky said: “Only one institution is capable of responding to the original crime, the crime of aggression: a tribunal. Not some compromise that will allow politicians to say that the case is allegedly done, but a true, really true, full-fledged tribunal.”

There has been a marked increase in attacks on mainland Russia in the last few weeks, with two trains derailed in explosions and an attack on an oil depot.

However, some commentators think that the strike on the Kremlin on Wednesday may have been purposefully staged by Russia.

The US Institute for the Study of War said it is “extremely unlikely that two drones could have penetrated multiple layers of air defence and detonated or been shot down just over the heart of the Kremlin in a way that provided spectacular imagery caught nicely on camera”.

Yurii Ihnat, of the Ukrainian Air Force, said: “Russia likely staged this attack in an attempt to bring the war home to a domestic audience and set conditions for a wider societal mobilisation”.

Putin is said to travel with his own “sniper squad” whose sole role is to locate potential assassins and kill them before they get to him.

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