Ukraine Struck Inside Russia For First Time, Blowing Up Oil Depot in Belgorod

According to the Belgorod City Administration, the fire was caused by an airstrike carried out by two helicopters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that violated Russian airspace. Source: AAP / TASS/Sipa USA

Ukrainian military helicopters carried out a targeted strike on an oil storage facility on Russian soil, the region’s governor claimed Friday.

A Russian governor in the border region of Belgorod said that early on Friday two Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters crossed the border at a low altitude before firing rockets at an oil facility 25 miles from the border.

Video posted to social media on Friday appeared to show a helicopter strike using air-to-ground missiles and then a major fire at the facility said to be in Belgorod, with flames reaching dozens of metres into the air.

Reports showed that the facility continued to burn until midday on Friday, with dozens of firefighters dispatched to battle the inferno.

Other videos showed the helicopters, which are used by both Ukraine and Russia, flying in the region.

“There was a fire at the petrol depot because of an air strike carried out by two Ukrainian army helicopters, who entered Russian territory at a low altitude,” Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region that borders northeastern Ukraine, reported the Business Insider.

Eight tanks are now on fire at the depot in the city of Belgorod, the Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax. Nearly 200 firefighters have been deployed to the scene.

The Russian news agency Tass reported that four servicemen were injured due to that explosion.

Rosneft, which owns the facility, told Russian news agencies it has evacuated its staff from the premises.

Belgorod Mayor Anton Ivanov said people whose homes are near the facility have been evacuated to the Belgorod Arena until the fire is extinguished.

On Wednesday, explosions could be heard from an arms depot in Belgorod but the authorities did not provide any explanation for the blasts.

Belgorod lies some 80 kilometers from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which has fallen under heavy Russian bombardment since Moscow launched its war on Ukraine on Feb. 24.

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