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Russian Air Defenses In Action Near Ukraine Border

Pantsir-S1 air defence system (archive photo). Vitaly V. Kuzmin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Russian border region of Belgorod has confirmed using its air defense systems early Thursday, the day after an unexplained fire at a nearby ammunition dump.

Regional authorities told state news agencies that late-night explosions heard by residents just 30 kilometers from the Russia-Ukraine border were the work of air defense systems.

They provided no further details.

Videos shared on social media showed several white streaks of light against the night sky accompanied by loud bangs.

The explosions followed a major fire at a Belgorod ammunition dump Wednesday.

Russia accused Ukraine of carrying out helicopter strikes on another Belgorod fuel depot and attacking several villages earlier in April. 

Officials in Kyiv have denied the accusations.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks, but said that fuel and weapons storage fires in Russia were “an absolutely natural process.”

“If you… use warehouses in your regions to enable the killings, then sooner or later the debts will have to be repaid,” he said Wednesday.

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