The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region has said that Ukraine fired cluster munitions at a village near the Ukrainian border on Friday, but that there were no casualties or damage.
The governor made the statement on Saturday during a daily briefing on his Telegram channel, without providing visual evidence. There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian authorities.
“In Belgorod district, 21 artillery shells and three cluster munitions from a multiple-launch rocket system were fired at the village of Zhuravlevka,” Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.
Ukraine received cluster bombs from the United States this month, but it has pledged to use them only to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers.
They contain dozens of small bomblets that rain shrapnel over a wide area, but are banned in many countries due to the potential danger they pose to civilians. Ukraine has repeatedly said their use will be limited to the battlefield.
Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine, has been repeatedly targeted by what Russia says is indiscriminate shelling by Ukraine’s armed forces.
In May and June, the region was rocked by violence after fighters from a pro-Ukrainian armed group crossed the border and started battling with Russian security forces.
Ukraine does not claim responsibility for attacks inside Russian territory and denied it was involved in the cross-border raids.
Drone attack in Crimea
Meanwhile on Saturday in Crimea, an ammunition depot caught fire after a Ukrainian drone attack on the Black Sea peninsula, the region’s Moscow-appointed governor has claimed, adding that road traffic on the bridge linking Crimea to Russia had been suspended.
“As a result of an enemy drone on the Krasnogvardeisky district, there was a detonation at an ammunition depot,” official Sergei Aksyonov said on Telegram.
“A decision was taken to evacuate people (living) within five kilometres (3.1 miles)” of the zone, he said. No deaths or injuries have been reported so far, Moscow-appointed governor Aksyonov said. He added that orders had been given to evacuate nearby villages.
Aksyonov also said train traffic would be stopped on the peninsula. “To minimise risks, it was also decided to halt rail traffic on Crimean railways.”
Authorities later said that two trains going from Moscow to Crimea’s city of Simferopol and one in the opposite direction had been stopped.
Videos showing a large fire are being shared online and in some videos, explosions can be heard. There were initial reports of an attack on a fuel depot. Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, has been targeted throughout Russia’s Ukraine offensive but has come under increasing attack in recent weeks.
Russia accuses Ukraine of carrying out the attacks on the bridge. However, while officials in Kyiv have welcomed them, they have refused to take responsibility.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that the bridge was a legitimate target because it was a military supply route for Russia.
“This is the route used to feed the war with ammunition and this is being done on a daily basis,” he said.
On Monday, the road was put out of service after an attack that killed two people. The bridge had only recently returned to full operation after being damaged in a bomb blast last October.