Russia says Ukraine fired missile towards Moscow, hit Crimea with drones

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday Ukraine had fired a missile towards Moscow and attacked Crimea with 42 drones, in what would be one of the biggest known coordinated Ukrainian air attacks to date on Russian-held territory.

The Russian defence ministry said a modified S-200 missile had been shot down over the Kaluga region, which borders the Moscow region. The city of Kaluga is less than 200 km (124 miles) from Moscow.

"The missile was detected and destroyed by air defences over the territory of the Kaluga region," the defence ministry said.

There were no casualties, said Kaluga governor Vladislav Shapsha.

Ukraine did not immediately comment on the reports, and almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

The Russian defence ministry also said Crimea, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014, was attacked. Nine drones were destroyed by air defence forces while 33 were suppressed by electronic warfare and crashed over Crimea without reaching their targets, it said.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-installed governor of the port city of Sevastopol in Crimea, said on the Telegram messaging app that a number of drones had been destroyed on Sevastopol's outskirts.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the attacks, which Russia blamed on Ukraine. Russian airports near Moscow suspended flights for a few hours.

The attacks were the latest in a surge of similar incidents since two drones were destroyed over the Kremlin in early May.

Ukraine has said that destroying Russia's military infrastructure helps a counteroffensive than Kyiv began in June. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told an international conference this week that Kyiv would "de-occupy" Crimea.

Russia shows no sign of leaving Crimea, which it has used to launch missiles at Ukraine.

But Ukrainian military intelligence said it had assisted the navy this week in a "special operation" in which they landed units on the western tip of Crimea, had a firefight with Russian forces and raised a Ukrainian flag.

The mission, which was not confirmed by Russia, coincided with Ukraine's Independence Day and appeared intended to show Ukrainian forces are able to stage ground operations in Crimea and that the peninsula is not invulnerable.

Ukraine's military intelligence this week also reported deliberately luring a Russian military pilot to land his Mi-8 helicopter at a Ukrainian airfield. Russia has not commented. A popular Russian pro-war Telegram channel, Fighterbomber, said a helicopter had got lost and landed accidentally.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Warsaw; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Miral Fahmy, Guy Faulconbridge and Timothy Heritage)