Ukrainian helicopters have bombed fuel storage depots in western Russia sparking massive fires, the province’s governor said on Friday, in the first airstrike reported by Kyiv on Russian soil.
The announcement came on the 37th day of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, with thousands killed and more than 10 million displaced in Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
The attack in the Russian city of Belgorod marks the first time Russia has reported Ukrainian airstrikes on its territory since the conflict began.
“There was a fire at the petrol depot due to airstrikes carried out by two Ukrainian military helicopters, which entered Russian territory at low altitude,” wrote Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov on the Telegram messaging app.
Two workers at the storage facility were injured in the fire, he said in another note.
About 170 firefighters were scrambling to put out the massive blaze, which started around 6am (0300 GMT), the emergency ministry said.
Large fires were raging, with black and white smoke billowing over heads, a video released by the ministry showed.
Russian energy giant Rosneft, which owns the facility, said it had evacuated staff from the premises.
Long lines of cars waited at filling stations but the governor urged residents not to panic buying, saying enough petrol.
“There are no problems with fuel in the region and there won’t be any,” Gladkov said.
Earlier this week, an explosion could be heard from a weapons depot in Belgorod but authorities did not provide any clear explanation about the explosion.
Belgorod is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Russia’s border with Ukraine and about 80 kilometers from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which has been hit by Russian troops since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine on February 24th.
Separately, Russia’s defense ministry said that Moscow had destroyed six military facilities in Ukraine, including five depots containing ammunition, rockets and artillery weapons.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)