Russia has reported that two Mi-24 helicopters of the Ukrainian Air Force struck an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, 40 kilometers (25 mi) from the Ukrainian border, this morning injuring two people and causing extensive damage. The Ukrainian General Staff said that it does “not have this information” that Ukrainian forces attacked an oil depot in Belgorod.
The Kremlin has said that a purported Ukrainian air strike on a fuel depot in western Russia will hinder future peace talks. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, told reporters: “Of course, this is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for the continuation of negotiations.”
The Mi-24 helicopters (NATO reporting name Hind) reportedly crossed into Russia at very low altitude and struck the depot with S-8 80 mm rockets destroying up to 8 fuel tanks.
The Telegraph reported that Ukraine’s defence ministry declined on Friday to comment directly on Russian allegations that its forces struck a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, but said Ukraine was conducting a defensive operation and could not be held responsible for “every catastrophe on Russia’s territory”.
“Ukraine is currently conducting a defensive operation against Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine, and this does not mean that Ukraine is responsible for every catastrophe on Russia’s territory… I will not confirm or deny these allegations,” ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a briefing.
UK military intelligence said the destruction of several oil tanks at the depot in Belgorod will likely add short-term strain to Russia’s already stretched logistics chains. “Supplies to Russian forces encircling Kharkhiv (60 km from Belgorod) may be particularly affected,” they stated.