Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday it had downplayed the attack in the Belgorod region near the border with Ukraine.
The ministry said that Russian forces killed 70 attackers in the region and pushed the remnants of their units into Ukraine.
“In the course of the counter-terrorist operation, the nationalist formations were blocked and destroyed by air strikes and artillery fire,” the ministry added.
The reports cannot be independently verified.
It comes a day after Russian authorities admitted that a “sabotage” group from Ukraine had crossed the border to launch an attack in the Belgorod region.
The raid was the largest of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, but Kyiv has denied any involvement and blamed the fighting on Russian guerrilla groups.
Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Tuesday that the drones were stuck in several buildings overnight but did not result in any casualties.
However, he said an elderly woman died as civilians were evacuated from border towns.
“I am now asking the residents of the Graivoron district, who … temporarily left their homes, to not be able to return,” he added.
Moscow is strengthening the defense of the border regions
The Russian government responded to the incident by calling for tougher defense measures.
“What happened yesterday is a cause of deep concern and once again proves that Ukrainian militants are continuing their activities against our country,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“It requires more effort from us and these efforts are ongoing – special military operations are ongoing – so that this does not happen again,” he added, using Moscow’s official name for the invasion of Ukraine. .
Russian authorities have also launched a terrorism investigation into the alleged cross-border attack.
“Residential and administrative buildings were blown up by mine launchers and with artillery. Due to these criminal acts, many civilians were injured,” said the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in a press release on Tuesday.
Ukraine denies involvement
Russian authorities initially blamed the attack on “a sabotage and reconnaissance group” from Ukraine.
However, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Ganna Malyar, said that “we are not at war on foreign territories.”
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak also said on Monday that Kyiv was not responsible for the attack but was “watching events in Russia’s Belgorod region with interest and studying the situation.”
Ukrainian military intelligence blamed the attack on Russian citizens on two paramilitary groups: the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps.
“I think all of us can only welcome the decisive actions of the opposition-minded citizens of Russia, who are ready for an armed struggle against the criminal regime of Vladimir Putin,” the intelligence spokesman said. of Ukrainian military Andriy Yusov in local media.
On Tuesday, the Freedom of Russia Legion posted on Telegram: “Good morning everyone, except for Putin’s henchmen. We have met the dawn of a free territory, and still going.”
The British Defense Ministry also said it was “likely” that Russian security forces clashed with partisans in at least three locations in the Belgorod region.
“Russia is facing a worsening multi-domain security threat in its border regions, with losses of fighter planes, attacks of improvised explosive devices on railway lines , and now direct partisan action,” the ministry said in a daily intelligence briefing.
zc/nm (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)