Ukraine 'Saboteurs' Take Hostages Inside Russia: Reports

Ukrainian saboteurs have crossed into the Russian region of Bryansk and taken at least six people hostage, according to reports by Russian-language media outlets.

The Ukrainian group reportedly consisted of up to 50 people who engaged in armed combat with Russian soldiers, according to independent outlet Meduza. State news agency Tass there were "dead and wounded" following the clashes.

Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz said that the saboteurs entered in the Klimovsky District and shelled a vehicle in the village of Liubechane.

"Saboteurs fired at a moving car. As a result of the shelling, one resident was killed, a 10-year-old child was wounded," Bogomaz wrote on Telegram, adding that the child was being treated in hospital. He said that there had been mortar fire on the village of Lomakovka, although no casualties had been reported.

The Kremlin-friendly Baza and Mash reported that the group took several people hostage in a village about 9 miles away, called Sushany, which Bogomaz said had been attacked by a drone.

"Measures are being taken to destroy the armed Ukrainian nationalists who have violated the state border," the FSB said in a statement to Tass.

Updates for Putin

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin is getting regular updates on the situation in Bryansk, mentioning in particular from the head of the FSB security services, Alexander Bortnikov, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. It comes as Putin is scheduled to attend a meeting of permanent members of the Russian Security Council on Thursday.

Peskov described the reports of the saboteurs as a terrorist attack. When asked if it would change the status of the war in Ukraine, which is officially referred to as a "special military operation," he told reporters: "I don't know, I can't say yet."

However, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak described the report as a "classic deliberate provocation" and that Russia wanted to "scare its people to justify the attack on another country and the growing poverty after the year of war."

"The partisan movement in RF is getting stronger & more aggressive. Fear your partisans," he added.

Russia's border regions have regularly reported aerial strikes coming from Ukraine since the start of the war and Bryansk was the scene of an oil depot fire last April.

But Thursday marks the first reported instance of on-the-ground fighting inside Russian territory. Newsweek has contacted the Ukrainian defense ministry for comment.

Ukrainian soldiers
Ukrainian soldiers sit on a tank in Izyum, in the Kharkiv Region of eastern Ukraine on September 2022. Russia has said that Ukrainian saboteurs have taken people hostage in the Russian region of Bryansk, but Kyiv has dismissed the claims as provocations. JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images