2 Russian villages evacuated after fire at munitions depot

Following a fire at a munitions depot close to the village of Timonovo, residents of two villages in the Belgorod region of Russia were evacuated. This region is bordered by Ukraine on the northeast.

The fire is the most recent in a string of damaging events that have occurred either inside Russia or on Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine. The villages of Timonovo and Soloti, which are around 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the Ukrainian border, are home to about 1,100 people.

According to Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod area, there were no casualties in the late-Thursday fire.

The incident occurred just days after another weapons storage burst on the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine’s Black Sea, which Moscow annexed in 2014

Nine Russian jets were reportedly shot down at an airbase in Crimea last week, highlighting both the Russians’ vulnerability and the Ukrainians’ ability to launch attacks from behind their adversaries’ lines.

The Ukrainian government has refrained from taking official responsibility.

However, following the explosions in Crimea, which Russia has attributed to “sabotage,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hinted at Ukrainian attacks behind enemy lines. In televised remarks on Friday, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, claimed that Ukrainian officials’ claims about attacking facilities in Crimea signify “an escalation of the conflict openly backed by the United States and its NATO partners.”

In phone conversations with high-ranking Biden administration officials, Ryabkov claimed that Russian officials had warned the US against taking such actions. He added that “deep and open US involvement” in the war in Ukraine “effectively puts the US on the verge of becoming a party to the conflict.”

However, Ryabkov said, “so far we haven’t seen their readiness to deeply and seriously weigh those warnings.” “We don’t want an escalation, and we would like to prevent a situation when the US becomes a party to the conflict,” Ryabkov said.

In the meantime, Kiev and Moscow persisted in accusing one another of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, fueling concerns about a global catastrophe.

The secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, accused the US on Friday of inciting Ukrainian strikes on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in southern Ukraine.

Since the beginning of the assault on February 24 only a short time ago, Russian forces have been in possession of the facility.

In the event of a technological catastrophe, Patrushev predicted that its effects will be felt all across the globe. Washington, London, and all who helped them in this will take full responsibility.

The Zaporizhzhia facility has been allegedly utilised by Russia to store troops and weaponry while also launching airstrikes against Ukrainian-controlled areas, according to Ukraine.

Moscow’s soldiers, according to Ukrainian officials and military analysts, have shamelessly used the plant as a cover, knowing that the Ukrainians wouldn’t be willing to retaliate.

Russia has refuted the charges, and in response, Ukraine has been charged with repeatedly attacking the plant.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Zelenskyy had requested that he make sure that Russia removed the weapons from the factory as a “essential step for world peace” following a visit to Ukraine on Thursday.

Erdogan said: “Zelenskyy demanded this of us especially: that Russia remove all mines and similar (weapons) there and that the matter quickly cease to be terrifying since it is a menace.

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