MOSCOW: Following confirmation by its security officials, Putin in a televised address accused the Ukrainian soldiers of trespassing- a claim dismissed by a top official from the war-hit nation.
The Security Service of Russia in a statement said that they were carrying out joint operations with the Russian Ministry of Defense to counter what it described as “armed Ukrainian nationalists who violated the state border” in the Southern Bryansk region bordering Ukraine.
According to reports, an anonymous source in the Russian security services claimed that up to six people were being held hostage in two villages.
The spokesperson for the governor of the Bryansk region claimed in remarks to the state-owned military channel Zvezda that a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group is operating on the territory of the village of Sushany, without providing additional information.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Vladimir Putin canceled a planned trip to southern Russia Thursday due to the events and was being regularly briefed on what he described as a “terrorist attack.”
Ukraine meanwhile accused Kremlin of staging a false provocation but also appeared to imply some form of attack had indeed been carried out by Russian anti-government partisans.
“Ukraine is not attacking,” an adviser in the Ukrainian President’s Office, Mykhailo Podolyak, said, adding that this type of operation was consistent with previous Russian provocations. “This is classic Russia. It always goes for provocation, lies, it always creates information pretexts.”
“Ukraine does not attack Russian territory, does not send special reconnaissance groups there, does not kill people, especially civilians. Ukraine does not need this. This is not a strategic object and there is no point in going there,” he added.