Updated May 4, 2023 - World

Kirby calls Russian accusation that U.S. is behind attack on Kremlin "ludicrous"

View of the Kremlin with Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral in downtown Moscow.

A view of the Kremlin with Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral in downtown Moscow. Photo: Natalie Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images

Russia on Thursday blamed the U.S. for an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin, a claim that National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby dismissed as "ludicrous."

Driving the news: "We don’t even know exactly what happened here," Kirby said Thursday on CNN. "But I can assure you the United States had no role in it whatsoever."

Catch up quick: Russian on Wednesday first accused Ukraine of launching the purported attack on the Kremlin in an attempt to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Russian state news agency TASS reported that two drones attempted to attack Putin's residence in the Kremlin but were disabled by Russian forces — claims that U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken said should be taken with a "large shaker of salt."
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday accused the U.S. of directing the alleged attack, per the Moscow Times.
  • “We know that often it isn’t even Kyiv that determines the targets, but Washington,” Peskov said. “It’s very important that Washington understands that we know this and understands how dangerous such direct involvement in the conflict is.”

Zoom in: There were no victims and no damage to the Kremlin's buildings, per TASS.

  • Peskov told state news agency RIA Novosti Wednesday that Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time because he had been working at another residence outside of Moscow.

What they're saying: Moscow said that it regarded the incident as "a planned terrorist act and an attempt on the life of the President of the Russian Federation, carried out on the eve of Victory Day, the May 9 Parade," per TASS.

  • "The Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit," the Kremlin added, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

Yes, but: Blinken said Wednesday at a Washington Post Live event that he was aware of the reports, but "can't in any way validate them."

  • "I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt. We’ll see what the facts are," Blinken said.
  • "We leave it to Ukraine to decide how it's going to defend itself and how it’s going to try to get back the territory that’s been seized from it illegally by Russia over the past 14 months and going back to 2014," he added — referring to the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The big picture: Ukraine denied responsibility for the alleged attack.

  • "We have no information about the so-called night attacks on the Kremlin," Sergei Nikiforov, a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told Radio Liberty, the New York Times reported.
  • “Ukraine directs all available forces and means to liberate its own territories, and not to attack others," Nikiforov added.
  • Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, tweeted that the drone attack accusation indicated that Russia itself is "preparing a large-scale terrorist attack."
  • Podolyak alluded to other drone attacks that have occurred in Russia in recent months, which he attributed to "guerilla activities of local resistance forces."
  • "Something is happening" inside Russia, he said, "but definitely without Ukraine's drones over the Kremlin."

Of note: Russia has accused Ukraine of a number of attacks on Russian soil since the start of the war.

Editor's note: This story was updated with new information throughout.

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