Russian State Duma deputy Oleg Morozov told a news outlet in that country that he wants the United States labeled as a “terrorist nation” for allegedly supplying Ukrainian forces with targeting information that resulted in a series of deadly explosions in the border city of Belgorod on Sunday, killing four, Newsweek reported.
“Now it has become obvious that this [U.S.] information is used to shell Russian cities,” Newsweek reported Morozov telling the state-run news agency RIA Novosti. “In fact, this is participation in the war on the side of Ukraine and aggression against Russia. This should be openly stated on all international platforms, demand the convening of a special U.N. Security Council meeting, and declare the United States a terrorist state.”
According to the BBC, witnesses in the Russian city of 370,000 said there was an explosion in the early morning hours Sunday that that damaged at least 39 homes and 11 blocks of flats, believed to have come from Ukrainian missiles.
Ukraine has denied firing on the Russian border city north of Kharkiv, which has been targeted several times since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, however, said the attack was planned by Ukraine to hit civilians in the city, and that Russian air defense had destroyed three Ukrainian Tochka-U ballistic missiles, causing “a fragment” to impact the flats.
Ukrainian defense ministry spokesman Yuri Sak told the BBC that it is a false flag incident meant to implicate Ukraine.
“Our security service has many times intercepted phone calls between the Russian servicemen which prove that sometimes, most often, these types of activities are … provocations by the Russian side themselves,” he told the BBC.
Newsweek reported that Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in May that it does not collaborate with Ukraine on making targeting decisions, including Ukraine’s strike on the Russian warship Moskva, which sank in the Black Sea in April.
“We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva,” Kirby said in a statement at the time. “We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out.
“We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case.”
A resident of Belgorod, identified by the BBC as Lydia, said that this was the first time something like this has happened, and that it has always enjoyed a peaceful existence with cities in Ukraine across the border.
“This is the first time something like this has happened in the city,” Lydia told the BBC. “There was no shelling in the city of Belgorod half a year ago. We need to live in peace with Ukraine. We always used to. So many of us have relatives in Ukraine. And there are many Ukrainians living here.”