Kremlin condemns ‘terrorist attack’ in region bordering Ukraine

Russia said on Thursday it was fighting a “terrorist attack” in the southern Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, where the local governor said a Ukrainian saboteur group had killed a man and news agencies said hostages were taken. was taken. Ukraine accused Russia of staging a false “provocation”.

Russia’s border regions have become increasingly volatile since Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine a year ago in what it called a “special military operation”, amid reports of shelling and sporadic sabotage.

“We are talking about a terrorist attack. Now measures are being taken to destroy these terrorists,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said law enforcement agencies would determine who was responsible, and that President Vladimir Putin was being briefed on the situation by security chiefs.

Mykhaylo Podolić, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, wrote on Twitter: “(A) story about Ukrainian sabotage group in RF (Russian Federation) is a classic deliberate provocation.”

He said Russia “wants to intimidate its own people to justify attacking another country and growing poverty after a year of war.”

Russia’s FSB security service said in a statement to Russian news agencies on Thursday that its own troops and forces were trying to destroy what it described as “an armed group of Ukrainian nationalists” crossing the border.

Bryansk governor Alexander Bogomaz said that one person was shot dead by Ukrainians.

“Today, a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group entered the Klimovsky district of Lubchanye,” Bogomaz said on his Telegram channel.

“Saboteurs fired at a moving car. As a result of the attack, a resident was killed and a ten-year-old child was injured.”

He added that the Ukrainian armed forces carried out a drone strike and shelling in other areas near the border.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the reports.

British military intelligence said on Wednesday that Russia was launching drone strikes from Ukraine’s Bryansk region, which is located in Ukraine’s north and closer to its capital Kiev than other launch sites.

Russian state news agency TASS said Ukrainians had infiltrated two villages, taking local residents hostage in one of them. Several people were taken hostage in a store in the village of Lubechanye, less than a kilometer from the Ukrainian border, the RIA news agency said.

Russia has accused Ukrainian saboteurs of having previously infiltrated Bryansk.

In December, the FSB said that a four-man Ukrainian “sabotage group” had been “liquidated” while trying to enter Bryansk.

Putin told the FSB this week that he needed to step up his guard against espionage and what he says are terrorist threats emanating from Ukraine and the West.

“Your task is to block the way for sabotage groups to stop their attempts to illegally transport arms and ammunition into Russia,” he said in a speech on Tuesday.

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