Russia accuses Ukraine of attacking a fuel depot on its territory | International
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Moscow has denounced this Friday that the Ukrainian Army has attacked a fuel depot in Russian territory at dawn. According to the governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, two helicopters from the Ukrainian Armed Forces would have managed to reach the target located just 80 kilometers north of the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, one of the toughest fronts in a war that continues already more than a month. There have been no casualties in the attack. It is the first time that Russia has accused Ukraine of attacking its territory since the conflict began on February 24. The Kremlin has already warned that the attack could disrupt peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian government, for its part, neither confirms nor denies the information.
The two aircraft would have crossed into Russian territory flying at low altitude in a raid carried out at dawn this Friday, according to Gladkov’s version. A day earlier, the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, claimed that his forces had “absolute air superiority” that allowed them to attack the Ukrainians in the west and center of the country. The Ukrainian Government of Volodímir Zelenski has not spoken at the moment.
“The emergency services are trying to extinguish the fire as soon as possible. There is no threat to the population,” added the governor on his Telegram channel. Residents of three streets near the depot were temporarily housed in a city sports center. For its part, the press service of the oil company that owns the facilities, Rosneft, assured that all personnel were evacuated on time.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has warned that the Ukrainian attack, which took place around 5:30 a.m., could hamper peace talks in Moscow and kyiv. “This does not create comfortable conditions for continuing negotiations,” said Dmitri Peskov. After the talks held last Tuesday in Istanbul by both parties, Moscow had shown optimism about the progress made, although from kyiv they took it with caution.
Asked by the Russian press how an air attack on his own territory was possible, Peskov declined to answer. “It is not up to us”, said the Kremlin spokesman, “to the presidential administration, to make any assessment. This must be done by professionals. Air superiority during our special operation is an absolute fact, it really is, but it is not us, but our security agencies, who must evaluate this.
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Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has avoided commenting. “I can neither confirm nor reject the claim that Ukraine was involved in this simply because I don’t have all the military information,” Kuleba said, responding to a question about the attack at a briefing in Poland.
Two companies that were located near the affected fuel depot have also suffered damage. The building where a printing press was located suffered significant damage, while the staff of a laboratory specialized in the manufacture of sapphires was evacuated to deactivate another projectile. “An explosion was heard at 5.30. Then the owner called and informed us of the air raid and the damage that had occurred in the premises,” the commercial director of the printing company, Yulia Bogatyreva, told Interfax. “The fragments left holes in the walls of the office, and on the floor of the print shop is a rocket cylinder,” she noted.
Two company workers were at the scene at the time of the attack, although they were not injured, according to Belgorod Mayor Anton Ivanov on his Telegram channel.
On March 29, another unsolved incident occurred in the same region, in the village of Krasny Oktyabr, 20 kilometers from the border. A fire in an ammunition depot caused a series of powerful explosions in the area and four Russian soldiers were injured, several sources told the TASS news agency. The preliminary version handled by the emergency service is that the fire was due to human error. In addition, some 180 residents were evacuated at night to the capital of the region.
Russian troop concentration
Belgorod is one of the areas where the Russian High Command concentrated a considerable force for its offensive. Satellite images and recordings posted on social media showed huge columns of armored vehicles in the region. Their goal was to take Kharkov, Ukraine’s second Russian-speaking city and the target of bombs during the offensive.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has confirmed until midnight on March 28 that during the war waged by Russia against Ukraine, 1,179 civilians have died and another 1,860 have been injured. The United Nations believes that the figures could be “considerably higher” due to the lack of information from the most dangerous areas, and warns that most of the deaths were caused by bomb and missile explosions.
In the separatist region of Donbas, origin of the war that began in 2014, the death toll rises to 326 dead in the territory controlled by kyiv, and 62 dead in the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.
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