A series of explosions were heard overnight in three Russian regions bordering Ukraine, where an ammunition depot caught fire around the same time.
No one was injured in the incident near the depot near the village of Staraya Nelidovka, and the fire has since been extinguished, Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.
It comes after Russia accused Ukraine of attacking a fuel depot in Belgorod with helicopters and opening fire on villages in the region.
The Belgorod provinces lie on the border with Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Luhansk and Sumy regions, all of which have experienced fierce fighting since the war began.
It is unclear what caused the explosions in the early hours of Wednesday.
Elsewhere, the governor of Russia’s Kursk province, which also borders Ukraine, said explosions had been heard in Kursk city.
Roman Starovoyt said it was probably the sound of firing air defense systems.
In Voronezh, the administrative center of another province next to Ukraine, the Russian news agency TASS quoted an emergency ministry official as saying two explosions had been heard.
Officials are investigating these reports.
The incidents could lead to speculation that Ukraine is attacking parts of Russia, or that Vladimir Putin is staging “false flag” attacks as a justification for his next move.
This is happening as Russia cuts off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland as the rift between President Putin and the West grows.
Thousands of Ukrainian civilian and Russian troops have died since the Russian leader sent his forces into Ukraine in late February in an invasion justified as a ‘special operation’ to demilitarize and ‘denazify’ the country.
Ukrainian forces have offered fierce resistance, but there have been few – if any – recorded cases of Ukraine targeting Russian soil.
Meanwhile, there is growing concern that Russia could be looking to expand its offensive following explosions in Moldova.
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