Russian explains Belgorod Region blasts near Ukraine

The incidents were not caused by shelling from the Ukrainian side, the head of Belgorod Region has said

The head of Belgorod Region, which borders Ukraine, has reassured local residents that the two alleged “massive explosions” overnight were not the result of shelling from Ukraine.

In the early hours of Monday, Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram that he had been woken up by two “massive blasts.” Citing preliminary information, he said there were no casualties or destruction as a result.

The governor promised to provide further details and did so later in the morning.

I would like to dispel the region’s residents’ fears that someone or something had flown to us from the territory of Ukraine. This is not true,” Gladkov wrote.

He further explained that the explosions were related to “combat missions” carried out by the Russian military “as part of the special military operation.”

On Sunday afternoon, Gladkov said that a blaze broke out at one of the Defense Ministry’s sites in the region, later adding that a civilian was injured.

Moscow has accused Ukraine of cross-border shelling since it launched its military offensive against the neighboring country in late February. Numerous settlements in Belgorod Region have been hit by salvos, with several criminal cases subsequently opened by Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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