Moscow has claimed that Ukrainian strike helicopters have blown up an oil refinery inside Russia.
Russian regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claims that Ukraine’s military was behind the bombing of the site in Belgorod, Russia.
However, the allegations have emerged just a week after Western nations warned Russia was planning a “false flag” attack within its own borders to justify increased attacks in Ukraine.
Russia claims that Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunships bombed the facility after flying 25 miles undetected past the border.
Gladkov said two of Ukraine’s military helicopters struck a fuel storage facility with S-8 rockets after crossing the border at a low altitude.
The bombing would be the first airstrike on Russian soil since WWII.
The resulting blaze injured two workers at the depot run by energy giant Rosneft.
Some areas in the city were still being evacuated, said Gladkov, who was appointed by Vladimir Putin in 2020.
Video shared on social media appeared to show the attack happening at 5.43 am local time, followed by helicopters flying away from the blaze, although analysts have noted Russia uses the same type of helicopters as Ukraine.
Ukraine’s government is yet to confirm the incident.
However, if true, it would be the second time Ukraine has ventured past the border since the invasion following the alleged long-range missile attack on Millerovo airbase last month, in the latest humiliation for Putin in his flailing campaign.
The news comes after an exiled Russian politician claimed last week that the Kremlin is plotting a wave of attacks on its own cities in a false flag operation led by the FSB that it will blame on Ukraine to justify a general mobilization of troops.
Ilya Ponomarev, 46, said the Russian security service is preparing to target its own chemical and weapons factories in attacks that could see civilians die.
It comes as Ukraine is making gains within its own borders, recapturing the two strategic villages of Sloboda and Lukashivka on the main supply route, while Putin is continuing to send units back to Belarus and to the Donbas where he is now concentrating his war effort.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned last night that, although Russia is still yet to capture a major city after five weeks of war, Ukraine still faces a difficult challenge.
“There will be battles ahead,” he said.
“We still need to go down a very difficult path to get everything we want.
“The situation in the south and in the Donbas remains extremely difficult.”