Putin accuses Ukraine of border attack, as Kyiv dismisses Russian ‘provocation’
Russian security officials claimed on Thursday that a small Ukrainian armed group had crossed the Russian border into the southern Bryansk region, a charge Kiev dismissed as a “classic deliberate provocation” by the Kremlin.
Russia’s Security Service (FSB) said in a statement carried by state media agency RIA Novosti on Thursday that the operation was being carried out after an “armed Ukrainian nationalist who violated the state border” was found in the agency’s district. President Vladimir Putin later described the incident as a terrorist attack and a local official said two civilians were killed.
CNN cannot independently verify the Russian claims, and local media have not carried any images of the alleged incidents, any confrontations or the alleged raid reported by Russian officials.
U.S. and Ukrainian officials have warned in the past that Russia has planned so-called “false flag” attacks on Russia’s border with Ukraine as a pretext for a military buildup, with the Russians prior to last year’s full-scale offensive. Also included were claims that Ukraine was sending “disruptors”. “On the Russian border.
Bryansk region shares a border with Ukraine to its south and with Belarus to its west, a close Russian ally that supported Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
Two civilians were killed and a 10-year-old child was injured in the village of Lübecken, the region’s governor, Alexander Bogomaz, said on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. In the village of Sushani, also located in Klimovsky district, Bogomaz said a residential building caught fire after a shell fell from what he claimed was a Ukrainian drone, according to RIA Novosti.
Putin canceled a planned trip to southern Russia because of the incident in Bryansk, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. Commenting on the incident, Putin did not specify whether the group had crossed the border from Ukraine, but blamed the attack on “neo-Nazis” without giving additional details. He also promised to “remove them”.
“Today, [they] committed another terrorist act, infiltrated the border area and opened fire on civilians,” Putin said during a televised meeting on Thursday. “They saw that civilians and children were sitting there, [in] A typical niwa (car). Shot at them.”
Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser in the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the alleged raid was either a Russian provocation, or the work of local factions taking a stand against the Kremlin, denying any Ukrainian involvement.
“Ukraine is not attacking,” Podoliak said. “It is a provocation by either the Russian side or Russian partisans who are starting to dismantle the Putin regime. Because they still want to preserve some political opportunities for Russia’s post-war future, it will lose the war. ”
Podoliak also said that this type of action was consistent with previous Russian provocations.
“This is classic Russia. It always goes for incitement, lies, it always makes excuses for information,” he said. “Ukraine does not invade Russian territory, does not send special intelligence groups there, does not kill people, especially civilians. Ukraine does not need this. It is not a strategic object and there is no point in going there.”
“Or is it something else,” he added. “Either the Russian partisans are actively starting to show their personality because they want to prove that a protest movement is even possible in Russia.”