In what he labeled a “terrorist act,” Putin says a Ukrainian sabotage group deliberately shot at residents in Bryansk, close to the Ukrainian border.
In his remarks, Putin vowed that Russia will prevail in the face of such attacks.
In the Ukrainian border area of Bryansk, Russia, Russian military assert that they are engaged in combat with a “Ukrainian sabotage group” after the group reportedly took hostages in a shop.
“A group of Ukrainian saboteurs infiltrated two villages, taking local residents hostage in one of them. Soldiers from Rosgvardia clashed with the militants,” TASS quoted an unnamed source in Russia’s security services as saying.
A Bryansk official also reported that a Ukrainian “sabotage group” had shot and killed one person after crossing into Russia from Ukraine.
“Today, a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group penetrated the Klimovsky district in the village of Lubechanye. Saboteurs fired on a moving car. As a result of the attack, one resident was killed and a ten-year-old child was wounded,” Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz wrote on his Telegram channel.
Bryansk situation a ‘strange’ story
The hostage situation in Bryansk is yet to be “confirmed,” according to Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian military specialist, who spoke to Al Jazeera.
“There’s a lot of accusations because it is an armed conflict … right now, of course, there are no reports of any kind of chemical or radioactive footprint there in this present Bryansk situation. It seems right now a rather strange story; the Ukrainians say it’s not them, and Russians say it’s them,” Felgenhauer said.
He said that despite this occurrence, it is not enough for Russia to launch a fresh attack or be used as a “pretext situation” at this moment.
“There have been reports of Ukrainian spies and agents being arrested in different places and being armed, so this is not that much out of the normal, so to speak,” Felgenhauer said.
“This is not a kind of Ukrainian invasion with tanks or anything; this is a report of a group of armed men apparently.”
Ukraine denies Russian claims on Bryansk
A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhalio Podolyak, said Russian reports of a sabotage attack by Ukrainian forces in Russia’s Bryansk region are a “deliberate provocation”.
“The story about [the] Ukrainian sabotage group in RF [Russian Federation] is a classic deliberate provocation,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
“RF wants to scare its people to justify the attack on another country & the growing poverty after the year of war. The partisan movement in RF is getting stronger & more aggressive. Fear your partisans …”
The story about 🇺🇦sabotage group in RF is a classic deliberate provocation. RF wants to scare its people to justify the attack on another country & the growing poverty after the year of war. The partisan movement in RF is getting stronger & more aggressive. Fear your partisans…
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 2, 2023