- Ukraine said ‘sooner or later the debts will have to be repaid’, without admitting responsibility for strikes
- Ammunition dump in Russia’s Belgorod region is on fire this morning after suspected attack by Ukraine
- Governor reported three loud explosions at 3.30am before confirming blaze at Staraya Nelidovka village
- Explosions were also heard in neighbouring Kursk and Voronezh regions as Russia said it shot down drones
Ukraine has hailed a suspected missile strike on Russian soil this morning as ‘payback’ and ‘karma’ for Putin’s vicious attacks on its civilians.
An ammunition depot caught fire in Belgorod, sending flames and smoke rising into the skies over Staraya Nelidovka in the early hours of the morning, as anti-air defences in border regions opened fire in what is suspected to be more attacks by Ukraine.
Air defences were active over neighbouring Kursk and Voronezh regions as Russia said it had shot down Ukrainian drones that entered its territory.
Without directly admitting responsibility, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said it was ‘karma’ for Russia and said they deserved to learn about ‘demilitarisation’ in a pointed swipe at Putin’s supposed war aims.
‘If you decide to massively attack another country, massively kill everyone there, massively crush peaceful people with tanks, and use warehouses in your regions to enable the killings, then sooner or later the debts will have to be repaid,’ Podolyak said.
He added: ‘Therefore, the disarmament of the Belgorod and Voronezh killers’ warehouses is an absolutely natural process. Karma is a cruel thing.’
Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, said on Telegram: ‘At approximately 3.35am I woke up from a loud bang that sounded like a blast.
‘As I was writing this post, three more blasts were heard. According to preliminary information, an ammunition depot is on fire near the village of Staraya Nelidovka.’
No civilian casualties were reported.
Meanwhile residents of Voronezh, which is more than 100 miles from the Ukraine border, reported two explosions to the south-west of the city overnight.
Video taken in the dawn hours showed what appeared to be the white exhaust trail of an air defence missile crossing the sky, with an impact cloud hanging in the air.
RIA Novosti, Russia’s main state news wire, later claimed that a reconnaissance drone had been shot down.
Explosions were also heard near the city of Kursk, around 60 miles from the border, with video seeming to show flames glowing against a darkened sky.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that more drones had been shot down over the town of Oboyan, to the south of Kursk city.
‘There are no casualties or destruction,’ Kursk governor Roman Starovoyt said.
The strikes come off the back of a series of explosions within Russia targeting military bases and infrastructure that are widely thought to be coming from Kyiv.
Belgorod has been the most heavily targeted, with missile strikes and a helicopter raid targeting fuel and ammunition dumps.
A railway bridge was also targeted in the same region in what is widely suspected to have been a sabotage attack by Ukrainian special forces.
Belgorod is a key staging point for Russian forces heading to join the fight in Ukraine’s Donbas region, where a major offensive to seize the eastern part of Ukraine is currently underway.
The frequency of the attacks has caused fury within Russia, with the Kremlin threatening to step up attacks on ‘decision-making centres’ in Kyiv in retaliation – a thinly-veiled threat to target government and military headquarters.
Russia has also suggested it could target foreign embassies in the Ukrainian capital if it is found that Western weapons have been used to strike its soil.
It came after British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said it would be ‘completely legitimate’ for Ukraine to use weapons donated by allies for the attacks – though stressed there is no evidence that Kyiv is already doing so.
A Kremlin spokesman said: ‘We would like to underline that London’s direct provocation of the Kyiv regime into such actions – if such actions are carried out – will immediately lead to our proportional response.
‘As we have warned, the Russian armed forces are in round-the-clock readiness to launch retaliatory strikes with high-precision long-range weapons at decision-making centres in Kyiv.
‘The presence of advisers from Western countries in the Ukrainian decision-making centres won’t necessarily pose a problem for Russia in making a decision to launch retaliatory action.’
The UK and US are poised to re-open their embassies in Kyiv within the coming days in a show of defiance to Moscow, having closed the outposts when war broke out.
Russia is now more than two months into what was supposed to be a days-long ‘special military operation’ to topple the Ukrainian government and install a puppet regime loyal to Moscow.
Ahead of the war, most experts and observers predicted Ukraine’s military would survive only a few days or weeks against the onslaught, but troops have defied the doubters and remain in control of most of the country 62 days later.
Having failed in its aim of taking Kyiv, Russia is now concentrating its forces in the east in the hopes of seizing control of the Donbas region and encircling a large part of Ukraine’s ground forces.
Moscow’s generals have also said their aim is to push out from Kherson – on the Black Sea coast and the only major city to fall to Putin’s forces so far – and capture Mykolaiv and Odesa, cutting Ukraine off from the ocean.
The early stages of that plan seemed to be underway on Tuesday with a series of blasts in Transnistria – a breakaway region of Moldova close to Odesa where Russia has stationed troops – which were blamed on Ukraine.
Transnistria’s government raised the terror alert level and said it would have to consider steps to shore up its security after the attacks, which are widely thought to have been false flags aimed at justifying Russian intervention.
(the Daily Mail)