Ukraine has conducted a strike on a fuel depot near Belgorod, a city within Russia proper. Russian forces have confirmed the attack, citing a helicopter attack by two Ukrainian Mi-24 Helicopters, traditionally used gunships by ex-Soviet countries. Yet even more surprising is Ukraine’s reticence to take accountability for the attack, with Ukrainian Secretary of National Security Oleksiy Danilov denying Ukrainian involvement in the helicopter strike.
Ukrainian sources claimed that explosions in Russian fuel depots could be caused by a multitude of regularly occurring incidents, citing faulty equipment and/or human error. On the one hand, given the current state of the Russian ‘advance’ in Ukraine, this assessment could be likely. But Ukraine’s unwillingness to confirm or deny the attack and Zelenskyy’s recent refusal to comment on the operation suggest a more clandestine approach.
Moreover, Russia’s own Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Minister of Defense, claimed three days ago that the Ukrainian air force had been destroyed. For such a claim to be made and then to stage a purported ‘false-flag’ operation would be at most an unlikely but possible tactical oversight by Russian military leadership.
If confirmed, the attack would be one of the few attacks on Russian territory by Ukraine, which have so far been precise and highly effective. Compared to Russia’s own inaccurate and often ineffective bombardment, it is clear how Ukraine’s superior usage of tactics has allowed it to defend in depth.
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