Ukraine live briefing: Drone strikes skyscraper in Moscow; 6th night of attacks in Odessa

Windows of a high-rise building were blown out in a drone attack Monday in downtown Moscow. (AP)

A drone struck a large skyscraper in Moscow early Monday, Russian officials reported, shattering glass on its 17th and 18th floors. The wreckage of a second drone was found on Komsomolsky Prospect, a thoroughfare in central Moscow. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said two nonresidential buildings were struck but there were no casualties.

The incident comes after another night of attacks on Ukraine’s Odessa region. Drones targeted port infrastructure along the Danube River, injuring six people and destroying a grain hangar, said Oleh Kiper, the regional governor.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Moscow downed the drones by electronic means, the Russian Defense Ministry said, blaming Ukraine and calling the incident a “terrorist attack.” Drone strikes are a rarity for the Russian capital, and a similar strike on two residential buildings there earlier this year was widely considered a prelude to further escalation in the war. Though Ukraine denied responsibility for the drone attack in May, the event struck a chord among Russians, who for the first time witnessed wartime hostilities trickling into residential parts of the city.

The overnight drone attack in Odessa lasted four hours, Ukrainian officials said on Telegram, marking the sixth day in a row that the region has been under attack. An earlier bombardment razed several parts of the southern Ukrainian port city before dawn on Sunday, killing at least one person and injuring 21, including four children.

Ukraine has so far taken back about half of the land that Russia initially seized, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during an interview with CNN on Sunday. However, he tempered Kyiv’s inroads with warnings of a tough path ahead: “These are still relatively early days of the counteroffensive,” he said.

Ukrainian pilots will begin training with F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft developed by the U.S. Air Force next month, the country’s defense minister told CNN, saying that the training sessions may be split between multiple European countries. As for supplying the aircraft, Blinken on Sunday cautioned that it could take “months and months” before F-16s are delivered and operational. The White House in May agreed not to stop allied nations from sending Kyiv the advanced fighter jets.

Zelensky said a lack of munitions forced Ukraine to delay a counteroffensive planned for the spring. “We had not enough munitions and armaments, and not enough brigades properly trained in these weapons,” he said in a CNN interview that aired Sunday.

Unilever said it will allow Russian employees to be conscripted if they are called to fight. “We will always comply with all the laws of the countries we operate in,” Reginaldo Ecclissato, the company’s chief business operations and supply chain officer, said in a letter to the B4Ukraine Coalition this month. He added that Unilever, a British multinational packaged goods company that employs about 3,000 workers in Russia, “condemns the war in Ukraine as a brutal, senseless act by the Russian state.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko met in St. Petersburg on Sunday, Russian state media reported. The Kremlin previously said the leaders would discuss their nations’ “strategic partnership.” The meeting came two days after Putin warned that any attack against the neighboring state would be considered an attack against Moscow.

Putin accused Western partners of the Black Sea grain deal of failing to address global food insecurity in an article posted by the Kremlin on Monday. The Russian leader said high- and middle-income countries benefited from exports shipped under the deal instead of African nations. The United Nations, which helped broker the deal, has argued it allows more grain to enter the global market, lowering food prices around the world.

Analysis from our correspondents

The moral dilemma of sending cluster munitions to Ukraine: For the past week, Ukraine has fired U.S.-provided cluster munitions at Russian targets. Their usage comes with a moral dilemma — and at a particularly fraught moment in the course of the war, Ishaan Tharoor writes.

The bombs are banned in 123 countries, including the bulk of NATO member countries, but the United States, Russia and Ukraine aren’t signatories to a convention prohibiting their use. This month, the Biden administration finally agreed to dispatch them to Ukraine — a move that could give Kyiv an advantage on the battlefield, but not without a cost.

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