Explosions have rocked the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, which is occupied by Russian forces and is a significant hub for Moscow's so-called "special military operation," according to local officials.
The head of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), Leonid Pasechnik, blamed Ukraine for the attack, calling it "another attempt by the Kyiv terrorist regime to intimidate civilians."
"Firefighters and all emergency services are on the scene. The circumstances of the incident and information on the victims are being specified," he said.
Pasechnik said the Leninsky district of the city was shelled on "Republic Day," which is a holiday in the breakaway region.
Two missiles struck the city's industrial zone, the coordination committee of the LPR said on Telegram. The committee claimed the Ukrainian-made "Grom" missile system was used.
The Grom is a ballistic missile that would have the range to strike Luhansk and it has previously been used in the conflict. But no evidence that it was used in this attack has been provided by the local authorities in Luhansk.
The city has rarely come under attack by Ukrainian forces since the Russian invasion, as it is beyond the range of their long-range rocket and missile systems, such as HIMARS.
One Telegram account said there had been two explosions and that smoke was visible over the city. A video posted online shows a large column of black smoke.
Russian news agency TASS quoted a former official in Luhansk as saying that “for the first time the Ukrainian armed forces have used missiles with a range of 150 kilometers (about 93 miles),” after at least two explosions in the city late Friday. TASS cited a retired lieutenant colonel of the Luhansk People’s Republic Militia, Andrei Marochko, but said there had been no official confirmation of the information.
The United Kingdom announced this week that Storm Shadow cruise missiles had been transferred to Ukraine. They are typically air-launched.
Ukraine has made no comment about any attack against Russian forces in Luhansk.