Ukraine has dismissed the Kremlin’s claims of attacks by Ukrainian forces on border villages inside Russia on Thursday and says that these are aimed at justifying the Russian invasion just a year after the first anniversary of the war.
Russia’s Federal Security Service was quoted as saying local forces were tackling Ukrainian saboteurs in the Bryansk region with the Russian state-owned Tass news agency reporting that the Ukrainian saboteurs were holding up to six people hostage. The local governor of the region said the group had fired on a vehicle there, killing one man and wounding a 10-year-old.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the events “acts of terrorism” and has accused Kyiv of opening fire on civilians. But, in a tweet, Mykhaïlo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, rejected the claims as a “classic deliberate provocation”.
If confirmed, it would be another indication following drone attacks earlier this week that Kyiv could be taking the fight into Russian territory, exposing Russian defensive weaknesses, embarrassing the Kremlin and sowing unease among Russian civilians.
Drones that the Kremlin said were launched by Ukraine flew deep inside Russian territory on Tuesday, including one that got within 100 km of Moscow. They did not cause any significant damage.
Ukrainian officials did not immediately take responsibility, but they similarly have avoided directly acknowledging responsibility for past strikes and sabotage while emphasising Ukraine’s right to hit any target in Russia.
In Ukraine on Thursday, three people were killed and six others were injured when a Russian missile hit a five-story apartment building in a southeastern city.