Russia explains retaliation for Ukrainian ‘terror attack’
Russia’s military has conducted a string of high-precision missile strikes targeting Ukrainian military facilities and officials in response to the Ukrainian strike on Belgorod on Saturday that left more than 20 civilians dead, the Defense Ministry has said.
In a statement on Sunday, the ministry said that Moscow’s forces had struck decision-making centers and other military targets in the city of Kharkov, not far from the border between the two countries.
It noted that a high-precision missile strike on the building formerly housing the Kharkov Palace Hotel eliminated “representatives of the Main Intelligence Directorate and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who were directly involved in the planning and execution of the terrorist attack in Belgorod.”
The building also housed up to 200 foreign mercenaries who were gearing up for “terrorist raids” into Russian territory, officials added.
Other strikes hit the building of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) and a temporary deployment area of Ukrainian nationalists. “Representatives of the SBU leadership, foreign mercenaries and fighters of the Kraken unit, who were directly preparing sabotage on Russian territory, have been taken out,” officials said.
In addition to this, an attack was carried out on a branch of the national space control center in western Ukraine, which had been used by Kiev for reconnaissance. Fuel depots in Kharkov and the Kiev-controlled part of Russia’s Zaporozhye Region were also destroyed, according to the statement. At the same time, the ministry stressed that the Russian military “only strikes military targets and infrastructure directly associated with them.”
Ukrainian officials in Kharkov have confirmed the barrage, saying that there had been six strikes that damaged “civilian infrastructure,” with 28 injured.
The new attack comes in response to a Ukrainian bombardment of Belgorod that killed at least 24 people, including four children, with 108 injured. Moscow has said that the barrage used both cluster munitions, as well as Czech-made projectiles. On Saturday, Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s envoy to the UN, accused Western countries of complicity in the attack, warning that those who orchestrated it would be “punished.”