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‘Large Blasts’ Heard in Russian Region Near Ukraine

A house damaged in shelling in the village of Zhuravlyovka, Russia's Belgorod region, on April 26, 2022. Yevgeny Silantyev/TASS

At least two “large explosions” were heard in the early hours of Monday in the Belgorod region 30 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, the region’s governor said.

“I awoke to two strong explosions,” Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on the Telegram messaging app without disclosing the location of the blasts.

He said there were no injuries or damage.

Gladkov said later Monday that the Russian military aviation was carrying out "combat tasks as part of the special military operation" without going into further details. Rusia refers to its invasion of Ukraine as a "special military operation" and threatens criminal prosecution for using the word "war."

Footage shared on social media showed flashes in the night sky accompanied by loud bangs.

The explosions were heard a day after a fire broke out at a Russian Defense Ministry facility in Belgorod and a railway bridge collapsed in the neighboring Kursk region. Authorities there blamed the bridge collapse, which also did not cause any injuries, on “sabotage.”

Russia has accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out cross-border attacks witnessed in the weeks since President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of its pro-Western neighbor on Feb. 24. 

Ukraine’s presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych has said that Kyiv is adhering to a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on the subject of attacks on Russian territory, according to the BBC’s Russian service.

His colleague Mykhailo Podolyak last week stopped short of claiming responsibility for the recent string of attacks attacks, but said that fuel and weapons storage fires in Russia were “an absolutely natural process.”

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