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  4. Russia claims to kill 234 fighters while thwarting Ukrainian incursion in border regions

Russia claims to kill 234 fighters while thwarting Ukrainian incursion in border regions

An armed incursion by pro-Ukraine Russian opponents of the Kremlin was repelled by the military just days before the presidential election where President Vladimir Putin is all but set to win. Ukraine managed to inflict serious damage on a major oil refinery through drone attacks.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Moscow Published on: March 13, 2024 8:18 IST
Russia Ukraine war, incursion, Russian Army
Image Source : AP (FILE) Russia and Ukraine have used drones to strike critical infrastructure and military installations as the war enters its third year.

Moscow: The Russian Defence Ministry on Tuesday claimed that its military and security forces killed at least 234 fighters while thwarting an incursion into Russian border regions from Ukraine earlier in the day. The ministry blamed the attack on the "Kyiv regime" and "Ukraine's terrorist formations", claiming that the Russian military and security forces were able to stop the attackers and avert a cross-border raid.

The reports of border fighting earlier on Tuesday were murky, and it was impossible to ascertain with any certainty what was unfolding in Russia's Kursk and Belgorod regions. However, the Russian Defence Ministry said it lost seven tanks and five armoured vehicles while trying to stop the attacks, which have occurred sporadically in the border regions since the war broke out.

The ministry said the attacks were launched in the village of Odnorobovka in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, and in the nearby Russian villages of Nekhoteevka and Spodariushino in Belgorod, according to a CNN report. It said four additional attacks had been launched near the border territory of Russia's Kursk region, north of Belgorod, but that Ukraine had "suffered significant losses" and was driven back.

Attacks by pro-Ukraine Russian fighters

Meanwhile, Ukrainian long-range drones smashed into two oil facilities deep inside Russia on Tuesday, officials said, while an armed incursion claimed by Ukraine-based Russian opponents of the Kremlin unnerved a border region just days before Russia's presidential election. The Freedom for Russia Legion, a group of Russian dissidents fighting for Ukraine, which previously claimed responsibility for incursions into Russia, said it had gained full control of the village of Tyotkino in Russia's Kursk region.

The attack by waves of drones across eight regions of Russia displayed Kyiv's expanding technological capacity as the war extended into its third year. The cross-border ground assault also weakened President Vladimir Putin's argument that life in Russia has been unaffected by the war, though he remains all but certain to win another six-year term after eliminating all opposition.

The governor of Russia's Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said 10 civilians had been injured and six were hospitalised after Ukraine attempted to break through Russian territory Tuesday. He added that Ukrainian fighters were not presently in the Belgorod settlements. In May 2023, the Freedom for Russia Legion claimed responsibility for an incursion into Belgorod.

Russian energy targeted

However, Ukraine managed to inflict serious damage on a major oil refinery as it sought to pierce the land borders of the world's biggest nuclear power with armed proxies. Russia said Ukrainian proxies had sought to cross the Russian border in at least seven attacks that Russian forces had repelled.

In one of the biggest Ukrainian drone attacks on Russia to date, Moscow said it downed 25 Ukrainian drones over regions including Moscow, Leningrad, Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk, Tula and Oryol. Waves of drone attacks continued through the day, the defence ministry said.

Russian officials reported attacks on energy facilities, including a fire at Lukoil's NORSI refinery and a drone destroyed on the outskirts of the town of Kirishi, home to Russia's second-largest oil refinery. Gleb Nikitin, governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, said emergency services were working to put out a blaze at the NORSI refinery.

(with inputs from agencies)

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