Blinken and Lavrov meet for the first time since the start of the invasion

Russian security officials have condemned the Ukrainian incursion into the border area and warned of a ‘provocation’ by Kiev.

Russian security officials said Thursday that a small Ukrainian armed group had crossed the Russian border into the southern Bryansk region, a move dismissed by a senior Ukrainian official as a “classic deliberate provocation.”

The Russian Security Service (FSB) said in a statement via state media RIA Novosti on Thursday that the agency, which also oversees border control, was carrying out joint operations with the Russian Defense Ministry. State Boundary” in the district.

Details are still sketchy, but Russian state news agency TASS, citing an anonymous source in Russian security services, said up to six people were being held hostage in two towns in Russia’s Bryansk region, on the border with Ukraine. Accused of being saboteurs. The spokesman of the governor of the Bryansk region said in reports to the Zvesta state military channel that the Ukrainian subversive and intelligence group was operating in the territory of the village of Sushani without providing additional information.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Vladimir Putin had canceled a planned trip to southern Russia on Thursday because of the events and was being briefed on what he described as a “terrorist attack”.

What Ukraine says: Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office, says the Russian accusation is a provocation or the work of local supporters taking a stand against the Kremlin, denying Ukrainian involvement.

“Ukraine is not attacking,” Podoliak said, adding that this type of action is consistent with previous Russian provocations. “This is classic Russia, he is always provocative, lies, always creates pretexts for information.”

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“Ukraine did not attack Russian territory, did not send special intelligence teams there, did not kill people, especially civilians. Ukraine does not need this. It is not a strategic object, there is no point in going there,” he added.

CNN could not independently verify the Russian claims, and local media did not publish any images of the alleged fighting.

U.S. and Ukrainian officials have warned in the past that Russia is planning “false flag” attacks along Russia’s border with Ukraine as a pretext for a military buildup, including what Russia says are “saboteurs” before last year’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russian border.

“A story about a sabotage group [ucraniano] There is a classic deliberate provocation in the Russian Federation,” Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said in a statement on Twitter.

“The RF wants to terrorize its people to justify an attack on another country and growing poverty after a year of war. The partisan movement in the Russian Federation is getting stronger and more aggressive. Fear your partisans …”.

Separately, the governor of the Kursk region in southern Russia posted a video statement on his Telegram channel.

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