First Ukrainian air strikes on Russian territory

Kyiv: Russian authorities have accused Ukraine of carrying out an air attack on an oil depot in Russian territory, the BBC reported.

Ukraine is yet to claim responsibility for the attack in Belgorod near the Ukraine border — it would be the first known time Ukrainian aircraft have flown into Russian airspace to strike a target, bringing the war home to Russia.

Ukrainian helicopter pilots have plenty of experience of flying low and fast to avoid being detected by military radar and air defence systems. They have been doing exactly that in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine for years.

But if these reports are correct — flying at night, well into Russian territory, to launch an attack on an enemy fuel depot would have required extraordinary bravery — as well as finely-honed flying skills.

This alleged attack alone will not dramatically alter the battle. But it could show Ukraine has managed to keep its air force functioning, and give a huge boost to the morale of Ukraine’s military, the BBC reported.

A video shared on Twitter shows a blaze near apartment blocks in Belgorod, some 40 km (25 miles) from the border with Ukraine. Some clips appear to show rockets hitting the oil depot.

Local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram message “there was a fire at the oil depot because of an air strike carried out by two Ukrainian army helicopters, which entered Russian territory at low altitude”.

“Nobody was killed,” he added.

Governor Gladkov’s allegation was not confirmed by Ukrainian officials.



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