Putin’s revenge: At least 21 dead in Ukraine air strikes after drone 'attempt on Russian leader's life'

4 May 2023, 10:24 | Updated: 4 May 2023, 12:38

Russian bombs hit civilian targets in Ukraine after the suspected drone strike on the Kremlin (inset)
Russian bombs hit civilian targets in Ukraine after the suspected drone strike on the Kremlin (inset). Picture: Getty/Social media

By Asher McShane

A series of Russian strikes in retaliation for a suspected kamikaze drone bomb assassination attempt on Vladimir Putin have claimed at least 21 lives in Ukraine.

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A missile strike on a supermarket in Kherson killed eight people and a further 13 died and 48 wounded following other attacks on the city and surrounding areas.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: ““The world needs to see and know this. A railway station and a crossing, a house, a hardware store, a grocery supermarket, a gas station - do you know what unites these places?

“The bloody trail that Russia leaves with its shells, killing civilians in Kherson and Kherson region.”

He posted a series of graphic images of bloodied corpses inside the supermarket.

The Ukrainian President went on to address The Hague today, saying Putin “deserves to be sentenced for criminal actions in the capital of international law.”

"If you look at any war of aggression, they all have one thing in common - the perpetrator of the war did not believe they would have to stand to answer for what they did,” he said.

"This is a crime of aggression, the start of evil the primary crime," he said.

Questions have been raised over whether the drone strike on the Kremlin was a genuine attempt or a 'false flag' attack orchestrated by Russia in order to justify further strikes on civilians in Ukraine.

The Kyiv Oblast Military Administration issued an air raid alert for Ukraine's capital as well as surrounding regions following the loud blasts, warning of a possible drone strike.

Residents were urged to take shelter until the air alert is over.

Explosions were said to have also gone off in Zaporizhzhia and Odesa, according to local reports from officials on Telegram.

It comes after former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev called for Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be assassinated.

Moscow said Kyiv tried to strike Mr Putin with two unmanned vehicles overnight but the attempt failed and the president is safe. The Kremlin branded the alleged attack a "terrorist" act it could retaliate over. Ukraine denied responsibility.

But Dmitry Medvedev, president of Russia from 2008-2012, called for Mr Zelenskyy to be killed in response.

"After today's terrorist attack, there are no options left aside the physical elimination of Zelensky and his cabal," said Mr Medvedev, who is also the former Prime Minister.

The Kremlin on Wednesday night
The Kremlin on Wednesday night. Picture: Getty

A drone exploded above the dome of the Kremlin Senate building, with footage of the attack circulating on Telegram.

Another clip showed what is believed to be anti-aircraft fire over the Russian capital.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy deflected claims of Ukrainian responsibility, saying: "We don't attack Putin or Moscow. We fight on on our territory. We are defending our villages and cities."

The Kremlin said: "Two unmanned aerial vehicles were aimed at the Kremlin. As a result of timely actions taken by the military and special services with the use of radar warfare systems, the devices were put out of action.

"We regard these actions as a planned terrorist act and an attempt on the president's life, carried out on the eve of Victory Day, the May 9 Parade, at which the presence of foreign guests is also planned ..."

That referred to the Victory Day parade, an annual celebration of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The imagery is especially powerful, with Russia falsely claiming the Ukrainian government is a neo-Nazi regime it must overthrow to justify its invasion.

Read more: Moment RAF planes intercept Russian jet flying close to British airspace

But in a damning indictment of a war that has seen Russia lose tens of thousands of troops, Moscow has had to scale back military parades throughout the country amid fears they could be hit by saboteurs.

The centrepiece of the celebrations tend to be a large parade in Moscow's red square. One video that caught a drone flying into the Kremlin before exploding on a dome shows the stands set up for the May 9 parade.

"The Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit," the Kremlin added.

Russia claims there was no material damage to the buildings at the compound.

Russia claims Putin has dodged as assassination attempt by Ukraine at the Kremlin.

A spokesperson said: "As a result of this terrorist act, the president of the Russian Federation was not injured.

"His work schedule has not changed, it continues as usual."

Ukraine has often remained tight-lipped when Russian bases were struck in the past.

Read more: Putin launches new missile blitz on cities in Ukraine killing at least eight people including mother and daughter, 2

Despite Russian referrals to "terror", captured documents from the invasion showed how Moscow planned to kill top members of the Ukrainian regime if it had successfully taken over the country.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser in the presidential office in Ukraine, said: "First of all, Ukraine wages an exclusively defensive war and does not attack targets on the territory of the Russian Federation. What for? This does not solve any military issue.

"But it gives RF grounds to justify its attacks on civilians...

"Secondly, we are watching with interest the growing number of mishaps and incidents that are taking place in different parts of RF.

"The emergence of unidentified unmanned aerial vehicles at energy facilities or on Kremlin’s territory can only indicate the guerrilla activities of local resistance forces.

"As you know, drones can be bought at any military store...

"The loss of power control over the country by Putin’s clan is obvious. But on the other hand, Russia has repeatedly talked about its total control over the air. In a word, something is happening in RF, but definitely without Ukraine's drones over the Kremlin..."

Russia is bracing for a Ukrainian counter attack now it has been equipped with some Western tanks, including a small number of British Challenger 2s.

While there have been fears Ukraine might be underprepared for its bid to liberate more territory, Russia is said to be preparing to try and cling on to the regions it has occupied and slowing down offensive operations.

It has failed to totally conquer Bakhmut, an eastern city that it has pushed hard to capture and lost massive amounts of troops in launching "human wave" attacks, with the notorious Wagner mercenary group heavily involved.

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