Politics

Russian firefighters deal with blaze after gasoline depot strike


Russian firefighters have been battling an enormous blaze at a gasoline depot close to the border with Ukraine on Friday after an explosion on the facility that the native governor blamed on the Ukrainian navy.

Videos on social media confirmed two helicopters flying at low altitude earlier than firing missiles on the depot within the metropolis of Belgorod, inflicting a fireplace that despatched clouds of smoke billowing into the sky.

Viacheslav Gladkov, Belgorod’s governor, mentioned in an announcement on messaging app Telegram that the helicopters flew low into Russian territory to hold out the strike within the early morning. Two depot staff suffered non-life threatening accidents, Mr Gladkov added.

The incident in Belgorod, which is 40km from the Ukrainian border, can be the primary Ukrainian strike on Russian soil since Vladimir Putin invaded the nation in February.

Responding to the accusations, a Ukrainian defence ministry spokesperson mentioned: “I will neither confirm this information or deny it.” He mentioned Ukraine was “conducting defensive operations” to repel Russia’s invasion, including that didn’t imply it needed to take duty for “calculations, catastrophes and all developments” happening in Russia.

Earlier within the day Ukraine’s armed forces tweeted a video of the gasoline depot exploding with two helicopters flying by. “Russian Belgorod … Ukrainian aviation works! Glory to Ukraine!” learn the tweet. It was later eliminated.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov mentioned that Mr Putin had been knowledgeable of the assault. “Obviously this is not something you can say creates friendly conditions for holding negotiations,” Mr Peskov advised reporters, in line with Russian information company Interfax. He mentioned Russia had “air dominance, that’s an absolute fact” and denied to remark additional on the strike.

Russia’s emergencies ministry launched footage displaying firefighters working to extinguish the blaze on the depot, which is owned by Rosneft. The state-run oil firm mentioned it had evacuated its workers.

Explosion

The incident got here two days after an explosion at an ammunition depot in Belgorod, which is simply over the border from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis. No trigger has been given for the explosion.

Russia has carried out a number of air strikes on gasoline and meals depots throughout Ukraine with cruise missiles, a tactic Kyiv mentioned was geared toward forcing it to distribute its inventory and wreck the planting season.

Russian and Ukrainian navy claims can’t be independently verified.

Separately, Ukraine mentioned Russian forces have been looking for to type “occupation administrations” in Moscow-controlled elements of the nation as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned of “powerful strikes” on the area.

The Ukrainian navy mentioned on Friday that Russia was making an attempt to arrange governance constructions within the “temporarily occupied” districts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and elements of Zaporizhzhia.

The assertion adopted days of warnings that Moscow was getting ready to accentuate its assaults. Russia has elevated the variety of troops within the Donbas area whereas persevering with its navy assault within the south of the nation. UK intelligence providers mentioned Russia was redeploying forces from Georgia to struggle in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s navy mentioned: “In the temporarily occupied territories, the Russian enemy continues its illegal actions, restricting the movement of civilians, using the houses and apartments of local residents to accommodate personnel, and holding local residents and activists hostage. Marauding and violence against Ukrainian citizens continues.”

Mr Zelenskiy additionally mentioned he had stripped two generals of their navy ranks. The Ukrainian president referred to as the previous inner safety chief on the SBU, Ukraine’s intelligence service, and a basic beforehand in command of safety for the SBU within the Kherson area, “traitors” and “anti-heroes”.

‘Final phase’

Ukrainian forces have prevented Russia from capturing any huge cities, together with Kyiv, the place Moscow has pulled out some troops that have been preventing close to the capital. But the struggle is raging within the east and the south, the place Russian forces are pounding the besieged port of Mariupol regardless of pledges that it will implement a ceasefire.

Moscow has mentioned it was shifting into the “final phase” of operations after “achieving all the main tasks” in northern Ukraine and would give attention to the Donbas area within the east, the place it has already taken over territory.

On Thursday, a US official mentioned Russia had stepped up its air strikes, casting additional doubt on Moscow’s claims that it was de-escalating and relocating forces in Ukraine. The strikes have been concentrated round Kyiv, Chernihiv, Izyum, Mariupol and the Donbas. “For all this talk of de-escalation and moving away, Kyiv is very much under threat from air strikes,” the official mentioned.

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022



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