April 1 (Reuters) – Two Ukrainian military helicopters struck a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod on Friday, a Russian official said, making the first allegation of a Ukrainian air strike on Russian soil since Moscow invaded its neighbor in late February.
Video images of the purported attack posted online showed what looked like several missiles being fired from low altitude, followed by an explosion. Reuters has not yet been able to verify the images.
The helicopters struck the facility in Belgorod, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the border with Ukraine, after entering Russia at low altitude, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on messaging app Telegram.
The resulting blaze injured two workers, Gladkov added, while some areas of the city were being evacuated.
However, Russian oil firm Rosneft, which owns the fuel depot, said in a separate statement that no one was hurt in the fire, though it gave no information on its cause.
Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said the incident would not affect the region’s fuel supplies or prices for consumers.
The governor of the neighboring Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said its fuel supplies were sufficient to last several weeks and called on the population not to stockpile fuel.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the general staff and the foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
An ammunition depot near Belgorod caught fire on Wednesday, causing a series of blasts. At the time, Gladkov said authorities were waiting for the Russian defense ministry to establish its cause.
Moscow calls its intervention in Ukraine “a special military operation”. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Bradley Perrett)