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Russia blames the U.S. for the apparent drone attack against the Kremlin.

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President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman doubled down on accusing Washington of “direct involvement” in the war in Ukraine. The U.S. has denied advance knowledge of the Kremlin incident.

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Two uniformed officers stand behind metal barricades.

Police officers in front of the Kremlin on the Red Square in Moscow on Wednesday.Credit…Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

Anton Troianovski
  • May 4, 2023, 7:47 a.m. ET

Russia blamed the United States on Thursday for the apparent drone attack on the Kremlin, doubling down on accusing Washington of “direct involvement” in the war in Ukraine.

Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin, repeatedly told reporters in a daily conference call that the United States was behind the episode at the Kremlin. Video footage verified by The New York Times showed two explosions over the Kremlin early Wednesday, an incident that Russia described as a Ukrainian drone attack on Mr. Putin’s Kremlin residence. Ukraine has denied involvement.

Mr. Peskov claimed on Thursday that the United States bore responsibility for the attack because it provided targeting information to Ukraine.

“We know well that the decisions about such actions and such terrorist acts are made not in Kyiv, but in Washington,” Mr. Peskov said. “Kyiv then does what it’s told.”

In fact, leaked secret Pentagon documents show that while the American military is indeed providing battlefield targeting data to Ukraine, American officials have worked to dissuade Ukraine from potentially provocative strikes on Moscow. And American officials admonished Ukraine over the killing in August of Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian ultranationalist, which American intelligence agencies believed was authorized by parts of the Ukrainian government.

But Mr. Peskov insisted on Thursday that Ukraine’s denial of involvement in Wednesday’s incident at the Kremlin, and the American denial that it had advance knowledge of it, were “absolutely laughable.” He characterized the United States as being directly involved in the war — a claim that the Kremlin has made previously.

The Russian government’s emphasis on American involvement reflects both the efforts by its propaganda apparatus to explain Russia’s battlefield struggles, and Mr. Putin’s warnings that the fighting in Ukraine could escalate into a wider war.

“We know this well,” Mr. Peskov said, after asserting that the United States was “dictating” to Ukraine which targets to strike. “It’s very important that they understand in Washington that we know this, and that they understand how dangerous such direct involvement in the conflict is.”