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Ukrainian 'sabotage group' mounted attack across border: Russian regional governor

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A member of a territorial defense force trains in Russia's Belgorod region in December 2022. (Photo by Sputnik)

A Ukrainian "sabotage group" has carried out a cross-border attack in Russia's southwestern region of Belgorod, according to the governor of the Russian region.

In a statement on Monday, Vyacheslav Gladkov said that a Ukrainian army "sabotage and reconnaissance group" had entered the Graivoron district of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, adding that at least three people had been injured in the attacks.

“They are in the hospital in a state of moderate severity. All necessary medical assistance is provided,” the governor said in a Telegram post.

Saboteurs shelled an administrative building in Belgorod and damaged three residential buildings, which caught fire, Gladkov further said, adding that a shell also hit a kindergarten in the village of Zamostye, where another woman was injured. 

In an earlier statement on Monday, he said that Russian troops, the border service, the National Guard and the FSB “are taking the necessary measures to eliminate the enemy.”

Ukrainian media cited military intelligence as saying the "Liberty of Russia Legion" and the "Russian Volunteer Corps," both consisting of anti-Kremlin Russian nationalists, were behind the attack.

Both groups claimed in a Telegram post that they had “fully liberated the settlement of Kozinka of Belgorod region. [The] first groups have entered Grayvoron.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had been informed of the incident, and that work was underway to drive the "saboteurs" out of Belgorod.

Peskov further said the cross-border sabotage aimed to "divert attention" away from Bakhmut and "minimize Ukraine's losses" in the eastern city, which Russian troops claim to have fully captured but which Kiev says is not completely occupied.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said that Kiev had "nothing to do" with the attack and that Russian anti-Kremlin guerrilla groups were responsible.

"Ukraine is watching the events in the Belgorod region of Russia with interest and studying the situation," he stressed.

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