The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said on Monday that “a sabotage and reconnaissance group” of the Ukrainian army had crossed into Russian territory — and Ukraine confirmed the group was made up of Russian nationals.
Vyacheslav Gladkov said forces had entered the territory of the Graivoronsky district, which borders Ukraine.
“The armed forces of the Russian Federation, together with the border service, the National Guard and the FSB (Russia's security service), are taking the necessary measures to eliminate the enemy,” Gladkov said.
CNN is unable to verify the report.
Earlier on Monday, Gladkov claimed on Telegram that the district had been shelled by Ukrainian forces since 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), but added that no one had been injured.
The villages of Antonovka, Kozinka and Gora-Podol had been hit by shells or debris, Gladkov said.
What Ukraine says: A Ukrainian defense intelligence official has confirmed to CNN that a group of Russian nationals that crossed from Ukraine into Russia’s Belgorod region and attacked the town of Grayvoron were “part of the defense and security forces in Ukraine but acting as “independent entities” in Russia.
Andriy Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency, told CNN: “We can confirm that this operation was carried out by Russian citizens. These actions are the consequences of intensified Russian cross border attacks, which have led to victims and destruction.”
Yusov said that the units that had crossed the border were, “part of defense and security forces” in Ukraine but said: “In Russia, they are acting as independent entities.”
Groups called the "Freedom of Russia Legion" and "Russian Volunteer Corps" claimed the attack on Belgorod region. In a Telegram post, they said they had, “fully liberated the settlement of Kozinka of Belgorod region. [The] first groups have entered Grayvoron.
Border strikes increase: Strikes on the Belgorod region appear to have intensified in recent weeks, according to claims by Russian officials.
Earlier this month, Gladkov claimed two drones had detonated and fell over a residential area in the region. He added that no casualties were reported, but two residential buildings and a car were damaged.
Another drone was shot down by Russian air defense systems over the region, Gladkov said. The governor said there were no casualties and that response teams are assessing the aftermath on the ground.