Moscow accused Ukraine of sending two helicopters to strike a fuel storage depot in the Russian city of Belgorod on Friday. If confirmed, this would be the first attack on Russian soil since the war began on Feb. 24.
The governor of the border city said that two Ukrainian helicopters crossed into Russia flying at low altitude before launching airstrikes at an oil storage facility just 25 miles from the border. Footage of the alleged attack shows several missiles being fired at the building before it erupts into flames. The video has not been independently verified.
“There are casualties,” said Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Belgorod. “Two people. They’re employees of the oil depot. They’ve been given first aid, and their lives are not in danger.” He added, “We are starting to resettle the residents of Pochtovaya, Makarenko and Konstantin Zaslonov streets to a safer location.”
The Russian Emergency Ministry said that 170 firefighters battled the enormous fire, which was started around 6 a.m. local time. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said he could not confirm or deny reports of Ukraine’s involvement in the strike, as he did not have military information.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said authorities were working to reorganize the supply chain for fuel to avoid the disruption of energy supplies. He added that Putin had been briefed on the alleged attack. “What has happened is certainly not something that can be perceived as creating conditions comfortable for the continuation of negotiations,” Peskov said, referring to the peace talks being held between Russia and Ukraine.
There have been other incidents in Belgorod, which is a major hub for the Russian military. On Thursday there was an explosion at an arms storage facility. Russian media outlet Tass claimed that four military personnel were injured during the attack.