Ukraine accused of attacking oil depot in Russia


Ukraine accused of attacking oil depot in Russia

While a Ukrainian attack would be a significant escalation in the fightback, it would also be highly embarrassing for the Kremlin, who failed to se

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While a Ukrainian attack would be a significant escalation in the fightback, it would also be highly embarrassing for the Kremlin, who failed to see the attack coming. Last night, it remained unclear who launched the attack. 

There were even suggestions from senior officials in Kyiv that the Russian military may have targeted the oil depot in a sabotage operation to justify a renewed offense in the east of Ukraine.

In the videos from Belgorod, two Mi-24 helicopters were seen flying low before firing missiles at the depot – a tactic designed to avoid Russian radar.

It is the second time this week that Russian officials have accused Ukraine of attacking targets in the country, prompting some Ukrainian officials to warn that it could be a “false flag” used by Moscow to justify reprisals.

The Belgorod region – situated on the road from Moscow to Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv – has been a hub for fuel supplies that have powered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ensuing fire “engulfed fuel reservoirs” at the facility, with around 3.5 million gallons of fuel going up in flames, with eight tanks destroyed.

Ukraine’s top security official denied accusations by Russia that Kyiv was behind the attack.

Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said: “For some reason they say that we did it, but according to our information this does not correspond to reality.”

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said it would be up to Russia to explain what happened in their territory.

He said: “As for what is happening on the territory of the Russian Federation, the leadership of the Russian Federation is responsible for that.

“Consequently, it is their job to find out what is happening in Belgorod. Maybe somebody smoked in the wrong place, or something else.

“Maybe Russian military are sabotaging their orders and use available means because they don’t want to enter Ukrainian territory.”

Three missiles hit a residential area near the Ukrainian southern port city of Odesa yesterday said local governor Maksym Marchenko, adding there were casualties.

“The enemy has just carried out a strike with three missiles on a settlement,” he said, without sharing an estimate of the casualty toll. Russia denies targeting civilians.

Meanwhile, Britain is concerned President Zelensky will be pushed into making massive concessions in peace talks with Russia by a combination of the US, France and Germany, a source revealed.

In a phone call at the weekend, Boris Johnson is understood to have warned the Ukrainian President about the risks of caving in to Putin, whom he branded a “bully”.

One senior Government source suggested allies were “over eager” to strike a peace agreement, with the UK position being that such a deal should only be finalised when Ukraine is in a sufficiently strong position.

The insider said: “Some of our allies may be too eager for Zelensky to settle.We think Ukraine needs to be in the strongest possible position militarily before those talks can take place.”

The risk would be significant concessions relating to sanctions, territory and attempts to prosecute Putin as a war criminal, the source said.

He said: “Ukraine’s courage is an example to us all. They’re on the frontline of freedom and deserve our support. We must keep the sanctions in place as long as Putin threatens our allies.”

Ukrainian forces have now recaptured a number of key towns near Kyiv.

Heroic defenders were said to have reclaimed Bucha, Vorzel and Hostomel yesterday. There was also Ukraine’s first live stage performance to an audience since the war began.

The Lviv National Opera hosted a series of opera concerts entitled In Victory We Trust. The event was held in front of a limited audience.