Russia on Friday accused Ukraine of attacking a fuel depot in Belgorod, setting millions of gallons of fuel on fire. Vyacheslav Gladkov, regional governor of Belgorod, wrote on Telegram that two Ukrainian helicopters conducted an air strike late Thursday on the oil facility about 20 miles from Russia’s border with Ukraine. Rosneft, the Russian oil firm, said in a statement that no one was hurt. Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, said the alleged attack “cannot be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for continuing the talks.” “I would like to emphasize that Ukraine is performing a defensive operation against Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine,” said Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s defense ministry.
The Belgorod region ,which is on the road from Moscow to Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv, has been a hub of fuel supplies that have powered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed about the alleged strike. A German journalist claimed that Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces has denied having knowledge of the attack and suggested it could have been a Russian false-flag operation. Russian forces were still attacking Ukrainian cities, however. They were accused of blocking food and medical supplies from getting into the besieged southern port city of Mariupol on Thursday, and of blocking refugees from getting out, despite Moscow agreeing to open a humanitarian corridor.