Those who have evacuated their homes in the Belgorod region of Russia due to fighting have been urged not to return just yet.
Monday, according to Russian officials, an armed “sabotage” party crossed from Ukraine and attacked the border district of Grayvoronsky.
Moscow asserts that it has now defeated the perpetrators.
Kyiv denies involvement and claims that Russian citizens from two paramilitary organizations were responsible for the incursion.
Several individuals are believed to have been injured in the fighting, but no fatalities have been reported.
Tuesday, the administrator of the region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, stated that among those being evacuated are two civilians.
Concerning this matter, Russia has launched a terrorism investigation.
Later, the defense ministry issued a statement on Telegram claiming that Russian forces had “blocked and defeated” “nationalist formations” and that more than 70 “Ukrainian terrorists” had been slain. The remainder were purportedly transported back to Ukraine, according to the ministry.
Mr. Gladkov added that overnight, air defenses had fired down drones, causing damage to structures.
A structure utilized by the FSB, Russia’s primary security agency, was among those struck. Unknown is the cause of the devastation.
Mr. Gladkov stated that several villages had been evacuated and warned those who had fled their homes not to return as Russian forces conducted a “mopping-up” operation, as he termed it.
The operation on Monday appears to be one of the largest cross-border incursions since Russia’s full-scale invasion 15 months ago.
It prompted Moscow to proclaim a counter-terrorism operation in Belgorod, granting local authorities the authority to restrict communications and movement.
According to Ukrainian officials, the perpetrators were members of the Liberty of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC).
The Liberty of Russia Legion, a Russian militia based in Ukraine that claims to be working within Russia to oust President Vladimir Putin, tweeted on Monday that it had “completely liberated” the border village of Kozinka.
Further east, it was reported that advance units had reached the hamlet of Grayvoron.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, stated that despite the large number of ethnic Russians residing in Ukraine, they are still Ukrainian militants.
Mr. Peskov added that the objective was to divert attention away from the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
After months of intense and bloody combat, the Russian mercenary group Wagner has recently claimed to have captured the city.
However, Kyiv maintains it still controls portions of the territory. Tuesday, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar reported that combat in Bakhmut had subsided, although shelling continued in the surrounding area.