Economic sanctions have been the biggest headache for Russia’s business elite since the start of the war in Ukraine, but a drone strike in the heart of Moscow’s financial district is forcing companies to think about their employees’ safety.
An explosion early on Sunday (31 July) rocked the Moskva-Citi business district, several miles west of the Kremlin and home to several skyscrapers, in what Russia’s defence ministry said was a thwarted Ukrainian drone attack, the second in a week.
Nobody was hurt and there was only minor damage, but such attacks are uncomfortable for the authorities who have told the public that Russia is in full control of what they call its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Tech giant Yandex, which has offices dotted around the Russian capital including in Moskva-Citi, asked staff to vacate offices at night, when strikes on the Russian capital have tended to occur.
“Taking into account the situation, we ask you not to be in the office at night (from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.),” Yandex said in a message to employees. “The restriction applies to all Moscow offices. Take care!”
Yandex, which like many technology companies has relatively flexible working hours, declined a Reuters request for comment.
Many companies in Russia continue to allow employees to work in hybrid mode, split between home and the office, following the lockdowns imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday Ukrainian attacks on Moscow and other Russian targets were “acts of desperation” and that Russia was taking all measures possible to protect against strikes.
Kyiv typically does not claim responsibility for specific incidents on Russian territory, and did not claim the latest attack, though President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the war was “gradually returning to Russia’s territory – to its symbolic centres”.