Kremlin responds to alleged Ukrainian attack on Russian soil
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Friday's reported Ukrainian helicopter raid on an oil terminal, inside Russia, will not help future peace talks with Kiev. The facility, which is located in the Belgorod region, caught fire after the attack.
Explaining that President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the matter, Peskov added that “of course, this cannot be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for continuing the talks." He went on to insist that everything was being done to prevent disruptions in fuel supplies in the locality.
Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed that two Ukrainian helicopters crossed the border and struck the site. Two workers received non-life threatening injuries.
The Russian Defense Ministry has not publicly commented on the incident. The Ukrainian General Staff similarly did not comment on the allegations in its regular reports on Friday, refusing to confirm or deny.
The news website Segodnya.ua, however, quoted a Ukrainian military source as saying that the explosion at the terminal occurred “due to negligence, or to conceal someone’s corruption.”
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukraine.
Russia has now demanded that Kiev officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Ukraine says the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.