Ukraine rejects Russian claim of attacks on border region

Moscow says seven people wounded and six buildings damaged by ‘air strikes’ in Russia’s southwestern Bryansk region.

A Mi-8 helicopter of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is seen flying over the country's eastern Donetsk region
A Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter flies over the country's eastern Donetsk region on February 19, five days before Russia launched its invasion [File: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]

Ukraine has rejected claims by Moscow that Ukrainian forces carried out attacks along the border between the countries, including an air raid that Russia said left seven people wounded.

Russian officials said Ukrainian helicopters carried out several strikes in the country’s southwestern Bryansk region on Thursday, the latest in a series of alleged cross-border attacks on Russian territory.

Russia’s investigative committee said the incident involved two combat helicopters “equipped with heavy offensive weapons” that had “illegally” entered Russian airspace.

“Moving at low altitude, they carried out at least six air strikes on residential buildings in the village of Klimovo,” the committee said in a statement.

Six buildings were damaged and seven people were injured, it claimed.

Ukraine’s national security and defence council rejected the claim and accused Russia of staging “terror attacks” on its own territory to stir up “anti-Ukrainian hysteria” in the country.

“There have been several terrorist attacks on the Russian border, in which the Russian leadership accuses Ukrainian sabotage and intelligence groups,” it said in a statement on social media.

Later on Thursday, the governor of Russia’s southwestern Belgorod region said a village there had come under fire from Ukrainian forces.

“The village of Spodaryushino has been subjected to fire from Ukraine,” Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Gladkov added that no one had been injured in the reported incident. He said that the village and another nearby had been evacuated to “ensure security”.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the reports.

Ukraine has previously declined to comment on several reported cross-border incidents in recent weeks, including an attack on a fuel depot in Belgorod earlier this month which Moscow alleged was carried out by Ukrainian troops.

Russia’s defence ministry warned on Wednesday that the continuation of “sabotage and attacks” by Ukrainian forces could trigger retaliatory action.

“If such incidents continue, then [the] consequence from the armed forces of the Russian Federation will be attacks on decision-making centres, including in Kyiv, which the Russian army has refrained from to date,” the ministry said.

On Monday, authorities in Belgorod, Bryansk and two other Russian regions bordering Ukraine – Voronezh and Kursk – announced they would step up security measures over what they warned were “possible provocations” from the Ukrainian side.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies