Russia accused Ukraine of deadly missile strikes at the border city of Belgorod on July 3, killing four people.
“Russian anti-aircraft defenses shot down three Tochka-U cluster missiles launched by Ukrainian nationalists against Belgorod,” Russian Defense Ministry Spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said on Telegram.
“This missile attack was intentionally planned and launched at the civilian population,” Konashenkov added.
Belgorod Governor Vyachelsav Gladkov said at least four people — three Ukrainians and one Russian — were killed in the “strong explosions.”
Gladkov also said that the blasts injured four people, two of whom were hospitalized, and hit five streets, damaging 11 residential buildings and 39 houses.
Gladkov accused Ukraine of “absolute peak cynicism.”
“The government of Ukraine is killing Ukrainian citizens on the territory of Russia,” Gladkov said.
The Russian Investigative Committee said it has launched a criminal case on murder and attempted murder charges following the strikes on Belgorod, Russian state media reported.
Ukraine has denied the accusations.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, said that he believed Russia was responsible for the strikes and that it was meant to be used for propaganda.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesperson Yuriy Sak told the BBC that previously, their security service “as many times intercepted phone calls between the Russian servicemen which prove that sometimes, most often, these types of activities are… provocations by the Russian side themselves.”
Serhiy Bratchuk, another Ukrainian official, said that the rocket debris embedded in a damaged Belgorod apartment block came from a Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system, which Ukraine does not have.
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