Ukrainian helicopters have bombed a fuel storage depot in western Russia sparking a huge fire, the regional governor said Friday, in the first reported air strike by Kyiv on Russian soil.
Moscow warned that the helicopter attack on a fuel depot in the town of Belgorod would hamper negotiations, as the peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials resumed via video.
The announcement came on the 37th day of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, with thousands killed and more than 10 million displaced in the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, according to NDTV.
The strike in the Russian town of Belgorod marked the first time Russia has reported a Ukrainian airstrike on its territory since the conflict began.
“There was a fire at the petrol depot because of an air strike carried out by two Ukrainian army helicopters, which entered Russian territory at a low altitude,” Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on messaging app Telegram.
Two employees at the storage facility were reportedly injured in the fire, he said in another post.
According to the report, some 170 firefighters were battling to put out the enormous blaze, which started around 6 am (0300 GMT), the emergencies ministry said.
A massive fire was raging, with black and white smoke billowing overhead, 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 buy, saying there was enough petrol.
“There aren’t any problems with fuel in the region and there won’t be any,” Gladkov said.