Images on social media appear to show Pantsir-S1 mobile anti-aircraft systems installed in locations around Moscow.
The Kremlin declined to say whether Russia was preparing to defend itself against possible attacks after images of missile defense systems on several Moscow rooftops circulated on social media.
Images on social media appeared to show a Pantsir-S1 mobile anti-aircraft system on the roof of a building in central Moscow about 2 km (1.2 miles) east of the Kremlin and a Pantsir on the roof of the building of the Ministry of Defense located along the Moscow River opposite Gorky Park.
What appeared to be the anti-aircraft weapon was visible on Friday atop the main ministry building in the capital, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Asked if Russia fears Moscow could be a target, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov posed questions to the Defense Ministry on Friday.
“They are responsible for ensuring the security of the country in general and the capital in particular, so it is better to ask the Ministry of Defense about all the measures that are taken,” Peskov told reporters.
The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.
The Pantsir-S1 is an air defense system designed to protect against a variety of weapons, including aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles.
Independent Russian-language media reported that another Pantsir system had been installed about 10 km (6 miles) from President Vladimir Putin’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, posted a video on social media that appeared to show the anti-aircraft located near Putin’s residence.
“What’s going on, you ask? Gerashchenko wrote.
Another air defense complex was spotted in the Moscow region, 10 km from Putin’s residence.
The video was allegedly taken on January 6 near the village of Zarechye, Odintsovo district. Supposedly it is Pantsir C1.
What is going on, one wonders? pic.twitter.com/UNeuiJRMZ4
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) January 20, 2023
According to reports earlier in the week, mobile S-400 surface-to-air missile units were seen near the vast Losiny Ostrov forest park on Moscow’s northern border and at an agricultural institute in the capital.
Security analyst Michael Horowitz offered some possible explanations on Twitter: Russia could be concerned about “Ukrainian attacks on Moscow”, Russian leaders wanted to play on the threat of Ukrainian attacks, or “Kremlin leaders are concerned about the threat of a coup d’etat”. – which he admitted was a “wild guess”.
A sure sign that all is well for #Russia:
A pantsir air defense system was deployed on the roof of the Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow
—Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) January 19, 2023
Moscow has accused Ukrainian forces of being behind drone attacks on military infrastructure deep within Russian territory.
While the United States and other NATO members have provided billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, US President Joe Biden has said Washington will not send weapons that could be used for attacks inside Russia.
However, Kremlin spokesman Peskov on Thursday raised the possibility of such weapons being supplied in the future, saying it would “bring the conflict to a whole new level”.