Russia claims Ukraine crossborder sabotage raid; Kyiv denies

Russian officials accused Ukrainian saboteurs of crossing into western Russia and attacking local villages Thursday, an accusation that Ukraine denied, warning that Moscow could use the claims to justify stepping up its own assaults in the ongoing war.

The exact circumstances of the incident reported in the Bryansk region were unclear, including what the strategic purpose of such an attack might be.

If confirmed, it would be another indication following drone attacks earlier this week that Kyiv could be stepping up pressure against Moscow by exposing Russian defensive weaknesses, embarrassing the Kremlin and sowing unease among Russian civilians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukrainian “terrorists” for an incursion, claiming that they deliberately targeted civilians, including children.

“It was yet another terror attack, another crime,” Putin said during a video call. “They infiltrated the area near the border and opened fire on civilians.”