Fire at Russian Defense Ministry Sparks Speculation


Moscow has denied that there was a fire at a Russian Ministry of Defense building following reports that a blaze had broken out on its balcony.

Social media users shared video and reports about smoke and the smell of burning plastic emanating from the MOD building on Frunzenskaya Embankment in the center of Moscow on Wednesday.

On some Telegram channels eyewitnesses reported a pungent smell around the building. CNN reported on video that showed smoke surrounding the building and a woman is heard saying: “The smell of burning is horrible.”

This photograph shows the main building of the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow on February 11, 2022. Authorities have denied reports that part of the building was on fire on Wednesday.NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/GETTY IMAGES

“A fire broke out on a balcony at the Ministry of Defense building,” state news agency Tass initially quoted an emergency services source as saying on Wednesday night and said that emergency services were at the scene. However, local officials later said a fire had not been detected at the building, according to the same agency.

“The fact of the fire has not been confirmed, since no fire was found upon the arrival of the fire department,” said Moscow’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, which Newsweek has contacted for comment. It added there were no reports of casualties.

Russian military targets such as airfields and depots have been hit amid the war in the Ukraine started by Vladimir Putin. Russia has blamed Ukraine for some of the attacks, which have increased in frequency in the last few months.

Earlier in May a small explosion at the Kremlin, apparently caused by two drones, was described by Moscow as an attempt on Putin’s life.

Ukraine denied responsibility but The New York Times reported on Thursday that U.S. officials believe the drone attack “was likely orchestrated” by one of Ukraine’s special military or intelligence units.

A preliminary assessment using intercepted communications did not reveal to U.S. intelligence who carried out the attack or whether President Volodymyr Zelensky or his inner circle knew of the operation, though some U.S. officials believe he did not.

The Times reported the attack was one of a number of operations that have made American officials “uncomfortable” amid concerns that they risk Russia blaming the U.S. —Ukraine’s biggest supplier of military equipment—and retaliating by expanding the war beyond Ukraine.

Some U.S. officials initially considered the Kremlin drone attack to be a “false flag” operation by Moscow to give a pretext to escalate its invasion of Ukraine.

But the Times reported that intercepted communications showed Russian officials were surprised by the drone intrusion, which undermined the perceptions of Moscow’s air space surveillance capabilities.

One comment

  1. It seems that someone got a little carried away burning documents before the liberation army arrives.

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