February 26. 2024. 6:48

The Daily

Read the World Today

Putin says Ukrainian group attacks inside Russia, Kyiv denies ‘provocation’

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (2 March) Russia had been hit by a “terrorist attack” in the southern Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, and vowed to crush what he said was a Ukrainian sabotage group that had fired at civilians.

Ukraine accused Russia of staging a false “provocation”, but also appeared to imply some form of operation had indeed been carried out by Russian anti-government partisans.

Amid reports of shelling and sporadic sabotage, Russia’s border regions have become increasingly volatile since Moscow invaded Ukraine a year ago.

Putin, in a televised address, accused the group of opening fire on civilians in a car, including children. Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz said the attack had killed two people and wounded an 11-year-old boy.

“They won’t achieve anything. We will crush them,” said Putin, saying the group was made up of the kind of people who wanted to rob Russia of its history and language.

Later in the day four members of Russia’s National Guard were injured when their car ran over a mine in the village of Sushany, just across the border from Ukraine, said Alexander Khinstein, a senior federal parliamentarian.

The four had been taking part in an operation to secure the region, he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

The FSB security service initially said the army and FSB were trying to liquidate “an armed group of Ukrainian nationalists” who had crossed the border.

It later said the situation was under control and a large number of explosive devices had been found, while demining was taking place. It did not mention earlier reports by state news agencies that hostages had been taken.

In two videos circulating online, armed men calling themselves the “Russian Volunteer Corps” said they had crossed the border to fight what they referred to as “the bloody Putinite and Kremlin regime.”

Describing themselves as Russian “liberators”, the men called on Russians to take up arms and rise up against the authorities. They said they did not open fire on civilians.