Ukraine's Military Helicopters Strike Inside Russia—Local Official

A video allegedly showing an oil depot on fire in the Russian city of Belgorod has been blamed on Ukrainian military helicopters by a local official.

Plumes of smoke are seen rising up in the sky in the footage widely shared on social media, and tweeted by media outlet Nexta, as well as reported by news outlets including Voice of America, the BBC and Reuters.

In a post on the messaging app Telegram, Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said "the fire at the oil depot occurred as a result of an air strike from two helicopters of the armed forces of Ukraine, which entered the territory of Russia at a low altitude. There are no victims."

It is the first accusation of a Ukrainian air strike on Russian soil since the start of the war on February 24, Reuters reported.

Kyiv has not yet commented on the claims, and Newsweek has contacted Ukraine's defence ministry for comment.

Nexta tweeted video of helicopters it said had been filmed by local residents. Video images of the purported attack posted online showed what looked like several missiles being fired from low altitude, followed by an explosion, Reuters reported, although the images were not verified.

In a series of messages on Telegram, Gladkov said that two oil workers had been injured but their lives were not in danger and residents in surrounding districts had been resettled "to a safer place."

Russian oil firm Rosneft, which owns the fuel depot, said no one was hurt in the fire but did not give information on its cause.

Local emergency services told Russian news outlet RIA Novosti that eight fuel tanks occupying 2,000 cubic meters were on fire, and that there was a threat that the blaze could spread to another eight. Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said 170 personnel were at the site trying to put the fire out.

It comes just two days after there were explosions at an arms storage building in Belgorod, which is just north of the Ukrainian border.

Videos and images of the explosions and fire were shared on Twitter and Telegram, next to claims that it was caused by a counteroffensive strike by Ukrainian forces with an OTR-21 Tochka, or "Tochka-U," a Soviet-made tactical ballistic missile.

However, as previously reported by Newsweek in a Factcheck, information from officials in Russia and Ukraine suggested that the explosion was caused by human error, and not a Ukrainian airstrike.

Still of Belgorod fire
A screen grab of footage shared on social media of a fire at an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod. The regional governor has blamed Kyiv's forces for the blaze, although the cause has not been confirmed. Twitter