As some of the tallest, most distinctive modern buildings in the city, the Moscow-City complex, nestled west of the city center on the banks of the Moskva River, has become a repeat target of attacks, which the Kremlin blamed on Ukraine. Early Tuesday, a drone struck the 42-story tower in the IQ-quarter complex for the second time in three days.
Kyiv did not claim responsibility for the attacks, but senior Ukrainian officials said that Russians deserved to feel the impact of the brutal war that their government has unleashed in Ukraine and that they should expect more attacks on Russia soil.
“Everything that will happen in Russia is an objective historical process,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter, which has recently been renamed X. “More unidentified drones, more collapse, more civil conflicts, more war.”
Zelensky over the weekend delivered a similar message. “Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia — to its symbolic centers and military bases, and this is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process,” Zelensky said.
The IQ-quarter tower houses several government ministry offices, including the ministries of digitalization, economic development and industry and trade. In an attack on Sunday, offices of the digitalization ministry appeared to suffer serious damage, according to photographs published on Russian media.
Russian newspaper RBC reported that ministry employees were told to stay home on Tuesday. And Russian IT giant Yandex, which also has offices in the same district, asked employees to not work from the office between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. following the attacks, Reuters reported. “Be careful!” the company wrote in a message to employees.
In interviews with local media outlets, employees working in the IQ-quarter tower and in nearby buildings described a strange sense of unease.
“It’s not just that they hit the building. After all, it is a ministry. It’s that they already hit it twice, but you want to say, ‘Keep working’?” one employee who works in the IQ-quarter tower said an interview with MSK1. “The fate of this building has already been decided.”
In the same complex, at least 19 apartments are registered to Assad’s cousin and the wife of another of his cousins since 2013, according to the anti-corruption organization Global Witness.
Another apartment in the complex is owned by Lanfranco Cirillo, an Italian architect with Russian citizenship often referred to as “Putin’s architect” because he designed the president’s residence near Gelendzhik. The architect reportedly owns two apartments in a nearby skyscraper, the City of Capitals, totaling more than 4,300 square feet.
A long list of Russian senators and members of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, also own real estate in the area.
Russian authorities labeled Tuesday’s strike a “terrorist attack.” But the recent explosion in the Russia capital represents a clear effort by Ukraine to make the war felt by residents in the Russian capital. Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, have faced a relentless barrage of airstrikes often directed at civilian infrastructure.
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry compared the drone attacks to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Speaking on the “Solovyov Live” television talk show, Zakharova said that “the methodology is the same.”
“Moscow City is a civilian facility, which not only contains offices, but also residential areas, and administrative buildings of the civilian bloc that have nothing to do with the military bloc,” Zakharova said. “It’s the same picture. It’s as if it’s repeating itself.”
The Kremlin, however, said it did not see any similarities between the attacks.
Meanwhile, Russia has experienced a sudden increase in arson attacks on local military enlistment offices across the country in the last 24 hours.
According to Baza, a Telegram channel linked to Russia’s security forces, attempts to set fire to military offices were recorded in at least nine locations, including the cities of Kazan, Omsk and St. Petersburg.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense also said Tuesday that it had thwarted attempts by Ukrainian sea drones to attack two Russian warships in the Black Sea, near occupied Crimea, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) southwest of Sevastopol.
“Last night the Ukrainian armed forces carried out an unsuccessful attempt to attack three marine unmanned drones of the patrol ships Sergei Kotov and Vasily Bykov of the Black Sea Fleet carrying out tasks to control navigation in the southwestern part of the Black Sea,” the Defense Ministry said. “All three unmanned enemy boats were destroyed by fire from the regular weapons of Russian ships. The ships Sergey Kotov and Vasily Bykov of the Black Sea Fleet continue to fulfill their assigned tasks.”
Natalia Abbakumova in Riga, Latvia, contributed to this report.