Air-launched weapons fired by a helicopter struck a Russian Federation (RF) fuel base on Friday, April 1, detonating storage tanks and igniting a fire emergency response teams were struggling to put out.
The morning air strike took place on the outskirts of the RF city Belgorod, some 35 km from Ukraine’s north-east border, news reports said.
Some social media images from the scene showed what appeared to be a rocket or missile heading towards the base, followed by a massive explosion of flame and smoke.
Vyacheslav Gadkov, governor of the RF’s Belgorod Oblast’ in a Facebook post said a Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) aircraft, specifically two helicopters, were responsible for the blast. There was no early Ukrainian official comment on the incident.
Gadkov said response teams were on the scene at the fuel base and working to control the blaze. Two workers at the base were injured, and local residents living in homes near the fuel base will be evacuated, he said.
The fuel base explosion lace two days after a RF army munitions depot outside Belgorod blew up and burned for hours, with debris from exploding artillery shells and rockets flying more than a kilometer from the blast site. Four RF service personnel were injured.
Gadkov at the time said staff failure to follow safety procedures was the most likely reason for the ammo dump explosion.
Ukrainian news agencies and social media widely reported the Wednesday ammunition dump explosion near Belgorod was the work of long-range UAF ballistic missile fired from UAF-controlled territory.
Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) on Thursday denied responsibility and said that it believed the munitions most likely blew up because site workers were careless.
The only fully-confirmed UAF on a target within Russia took place on Feb. 25, when a long-range UAF Tochka-U struck an RF airfield near the village Millerovo, destroying aircraft and setting fires.
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