May, 26

    Belgorod: Russia accuses Ukraine of helicopter strikes on gas depot in Russian territory

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    In an announcement, Russia’s Ministry of Protection stated that the helicopters “entered the airspace of the Russian Federation at extraordinarily low altitude,” at 5 a.m. Moscow time and “launched a missile assault on a civilian oil storage facility positioned on the outskirts of Belgorod.”

    Because of this, “particular person tanks have been broken and caught fireplace,” spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov stated, including that the depot “has nothing to do with Russian armed forces.”

    CNN couldn’t confirm the Russian claims.

    The Ukrainian Ministry of Protection has neither confirmed nor denied the assault. Russia has hit gas storage services round Ukraine in current days.

    “I want to emphasize that Ukraine is performing a defensive operation in opposition to Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine,” Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, spokesman for Ukraine’s protection ministry, stated in a televised assertion Friday.

    “That does not imply Ukraine must be accountable for each miscalculation or occasion or disaster that occurred on the territory of the Russian Federation. This isn’t the primary time we’re witnessing such accusations. Subsequently, I’ll neither verify nor deny this data.”

    CNN geolocated and verified social media movies exhibiting two helicopters flying over the Russian metropolis of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border, however can not verify the helicopters are Ukrainian.

    In a single video, they’re noticed throughout an assault on a gas storage facility. The video, which was shot at a distance of about 1,800 ft (550 meters) from the power, reveals a number of strikes and a subsequent fireplace within the distance.

    The Belgorod area — which is on the highway from Moscow to Ukraine’s second largest metropolis, Kharkiv — has been a hub of gas provides which have powered Russia’s invasion of of Ukraine.

    The following fireplace “engulfed gas reservoirs” on the facility, Russian state media outlet TASS reported, citing the ministry of emergency conditions.

    About 16,000 cubic meters (3.52 million gallons) of gas have been on fireplace, encompassing eight tanks with 2,000 cubic meters of gas every, Russian state media outlet Ria Novosti reported, citing emergency providers, and there was the chance that the fireplace may unfold to a different eight tanks.

    Two staff of the depot have been injured within the fireplace however their lives weren’t at risk, Belgorod’s regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov stated on his Telegram channel earlier Friday. Residents within the neighborhood of the depot have been being evacuated however there was no menace to the inhabitants of the town, he added.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has been knowledgeable in regards to the alleged strike, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated Friday, warning that the incident may hinder ongoing negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow.

    “The president was knowledgeable about Belgorod,” Peskov stated in a convention name with reporters. “You recognize that the ministry of emergency conditions was despatched there. Steps are being taken to reorganize gas provide factors in order that what occurred in no case impacts the extent of provide of all essential forms of gas.”

    The Russian army has claimed air superiority over Ukraine.

    “Air superiority throughout an operation is an absolute truth,” Peskov stated. “And as for what occurred, it most likely shouldn’t be us giving out assessments, however our legislation enforcement businesses.”

    CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase and Celine Alkhaldi contributed to this report.

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