Russia says Ukraine blew up an oil depot in Russian territory in a helicopter raid, part of an apparent wider fightback

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A screen grab captured from a video shows a fire in the Russian city of Belgorod, on April 1, 2022.

A screen grab captured from a video showing a fire in the Russian city of Belgorod on April 1, 2022.Russian Ministry of Emergency Situation/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • A Russian politician said two Ukrainian helicopters blew up an oil depot in Russia on Friday.

  • The governor of Belgorod said Ukrainian helicopters launched an airstrike on the city of Belgorod.

  • Ukrainian officials denied carrying out the attack, saying it could be a false flag operation.

A Russian politician said Friday that Ukrainian forces blew up an oil depot on Russian soil in a helicopter raid.

Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram that two Ukrainian helicopters launched an airstrike on the depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, located 24 miles north of the Ukrainian border.

There were no casualties but two oil workers were injured, Gladkov said.

A number of videos purporting to show the burning oil facility were posted to Russian social media platform V Kontakte. Other videos also purported to show Ukrainian Air Force Mi-24 helicopters flying low over Belgorod.

Insider was unable to verify the authenticity of the videos.

One was posted by a semi-official Ukrainian military account, with the caption “Ukrainian aviation at work in Belgorod!”

However, when asked about the claims by journalists with Germany’s BILD newspaper, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military said Ukraine does “not have this information.”

It added that the attack could be a false flag operation to justify further violence against Ukrainians.

Russia’s defense ministry has not commented on the incident.

The apparent attack came amid a wider Ukrainian counter offensive, focused on retaking parts of the territory lost to Russia at the start of the war.

In recent days, Ukraine recaptured a number of towns and cities such as Trostyanets and Irpin, as well as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. A US official told ABC News that Russia seemed to have abandoned to Hostomel airfield not far from Kyiv.

The gains came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia was preparing to shift the focus of its attacks on Ukraine, to focus on attacking the eastern Donbas region.

Zelenskyy said that a claim Russia was “radically” scaling back attacks on Kyiv was actually a repositioning.

US and British intelligence have cautioned against taking Russia’s troop movements as proof of a withdrawal.

Speaking on Friday, Zelenskyy again called on Western powers to supply Ukraine with more arms.

“We need more support from our partners right now. When the Russian military is concentrating additional forces in certain areas,” he said.

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