Russia said Tuesday it downed five Ukrainian drones that attacked Moscow and the surrounding region.
The Russian defense ministry said air defenses shot down four of the drones, while the fifth was electronically jammed and crashed.
The drones temporarily disrupted operations at Vnukovo International Airport on the southwest side of Moscow, causing officials to reroute planes to other airports.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the drone attack was an “act of terrorism” by Ukraine.
There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials.
Ukraine typically does not claim responsibility for attacks on Russian territory.
Britain’s defense ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces have responded to the Ukrainian counteroffensive launched last month by adjusting tactics, including the heavy use of anti-tank mines.
“Having slowed the Ukrainian advance, Russia has then attempted to strike Ukrainian armored vehicles with one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles, attack helicopters and artillery,” the British defense ministry said in a daily assessment.
Ukraine has cited some progress amid heavy fighting as it tries to reclaim land seized by Russia since Russian forces invaded in February 2022.
In his nightly video address Monday, Zelenskyy touted Ukraine as a significant asset for NATO, stating that his country is an important safeguard in Europe’s security against Russian aggression.
“It is obvious that Europe can be protected from any aggression only together with Ukraine and only together with Ukraine in NATO. That is why we must achieve security certainty about our future in the Alliance,” he said.
Zelenskyy made these comments as NATO leaders are preparing for their two-day summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11 and 12.
The summit arrives at a critical juncture for NATO and European security with the Kyiv counteroffensive and political upheaval in Moscow.
Ukraine formally applied to join NATO last year, but all member states have now agreed that Ukraine will not join the alliance before the war there ends.
During a Monday news conference in Brussels, NATO’s top military official, Admiral Rob Bauer, acknowledged that Ukraine’s road to victory will be difficult and lengthy.
“The counteroffensive, it is difficult,” he said, adding that Ukrainian forces are right to proceed cautiously. “People should never think that this is an easy walkover. It will never be,” he said, noting that the Russian defense lines are sometimes up to 30 kilometers deep, and Ukrainian forces face landmines and other obstacles.
Bauer drew a comparison between breaking through these obstacles and fighting in Normandy during World War II. “We saw in Normandy in the Second World War that it took seven, eight, nine weeks for the allies to actually break through the defensive lines of the Germans. And so, it is not a surprise that it is not going fast,” he said.
Satellite images reviewed by Reuters in April showed Russia had built extensive fortifications, trenches, anti-vehicle barriers and other obstacles to slow any Ukrainian advance.
Bauer also cautioned that Russia’s armed forces are bruised but by no means beaten in the Ukraine fighting. “They might not be 11 feet tall, but they are certainly not two feet tall,” he told reporters. “So, we should never underestimate the Russians and their ability to bounce back.”