Published: 2023-05-23 16:27
Last Updated: 2023-06-01 23:58
Russia said Tuesday that its armed forces had beaten back and then wiped out a group of militants and military hardware that were dispatched to its southern Belgorod region from Ukraine, AFP reported.
The incursion was the most serious attack on Russian soil since the beginning of Moscow's operation in Ukraine, prompting Russian authorities to declare an "anti-terror regime" and evacuate nine border villages.
"In the course of the counter-terrorist operation, the nationalist formations were blocked and destroyed by air strikes and artillery fire," the Russian defence ministry said.
"The remaining (fighters) were driven back to the territory of Ukraine, where they continued to be hit by fire until they were completely eliminated," the ministry said in a statement.
The statement said Russian forces killed more than 70 Ukrainian fighters and destroyed four armoured vehicles.
The defence ministry blamed Ukrainian authorities for the incursion, saying that "having suffered a defeat in Artemovsk, the Kyiv regime switched to implementing terror attacks against the civilian population."
Moscow used the Soviet-era name for the city of Bakhmut, which Russian forces said they seized over the weekend.
Ukraine has denied involvement in the attack, but members of the anti-Kremlin Freedom of Russia Legion have claimed responsibility for the incursion.