Strike on Russian oil depot reported as Ukraine talks ongoing

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Talks to stop the fighting in Ukraine resumed Friday, as another attempt to rescue civilians from the shattered and encircled city of Mariupol was thrown into jeopardy and Russia accused the Ukrainians of a cross-border helicopter strike on a Russian oil depot.


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The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said an airstrike on Russian soil by a pair of helicopter gunships caused fires and wounded two people. Several nearby businesses were also reported hit.

“Certainly, this is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for the continuation of the talks,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, five weeks into the war that has left thousands dead and driven more than 4 million refugees from Ukraine.

It was not immediately possible to verify the Russian accusation. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he could “neither confirm nor reject the claim that Ukraine was involved in this, simply because I do not possess all the military information.”

Russia has reported cross-border shelling from Ukraine before, including an incident last week that killed a military chaplain, but not an incursion of its airspace. The depot, run by Russian energy giant Rosneft, is about 35 kilometers (21 miles) from the Ukraine border.

Meanwhile, Russian troops appeared to be in rapid retreat from areas around Kyiv, three days after Moscow said it planned to reduce military activity around the Ukrainian capital and the northern city of Chernihiv to create more trust between the two sides and promote negotiations.

But Ukraine and its allies have warned that the Kremlin is not de-escalating but regrouping, resupplying its troops and redeploying them to the country’s east for an intensified assault on the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbas region, which includes Mariupol.

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The latest negotiations, taking place by video, follow a meeting Tuesday in Turkey, where Ukraine reiterated its willingness to abandon a bid to join NATO and declare itself neutral. In return, it proposed that its security be guaranteed by several other countries.

Strike on Russian oil depot reported as Ukraine talks resume  The Associated Press

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