Moscow has threatened to strike command centres in Kyiv after accusing Ukrainian troops of attacking Russian territory.
The Kremlin has claimed acts of ‘sabotage’ behind its borders, but the West has repeatedly warned of ‘false-flag’ events to justify the war and discredit Ukraine.
In a statement, the Russian defence ministry said: ‘If such cases continue, the Russian armed forces will strike decision-making centres, including in Kyiv.’
This would potentially mean a direct attack on President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital.
Since President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has accused Kyiv forces of attacking territory in southern Russia.
Russian regional authorities heard gunfire was heard yesterday near a village in a western region bordering Ukraine.
It was not immediately clear what happened, as authorities in the Kursk region gave contradictory accounts. They also deleted an earlier statement which said a border checkpoint had come under fire.
In later statement on their Telegram channel, authorities in Korenevsky district said: ‘An hour ago, gunfire was heard in the adjacent territory near the village of Gordeevka. There were no casualties or damage on our side.’
Earlier this month Russia accused Ukraine of a helicopter attack on a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the incident could jeopardise peace Moscow’s peace talks with Kyiv, but Ukraine denied being behind the strike.
‘He says it doesn’t help talks, but does it help talks when they kill our children, our women – these outrages they commit on our land? These people are kind of sick,’ replied Ukraine’s Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov.
On Tuesday morning a Russian railroad near the Ukrainian border was destroyed, regional authorities said.
Writing on Telegram, Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov did not specify what destroyed the tracks but said no one was killed or injured in the incident.
On Monday authorities in the Belgorod, Voronezh and Bryansk regions said they were stepping up security and urged citizens to be more vigilant. Kursk, another region near the Ukrainian border was the first to announce similar measures on Sunday.
Earlier this month Russian troops pulled back from areas north of Kyiv and are now refocusing their efforts on capturing more territory in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian defence ministry confirmed that its troops had now full control of the port in the besieged city of Mariupol.
The ministry added that Ukrainian troops – including members of the far-right Azov Battalion – had been encircled and ‘deprived of the opportunity to escape’.
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