Fire breaks out at a Russian fuel depot near Ukrainian border

A screen grab captured from a video shows firefighters responding to a fire at a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod on April 1.
A screen grab captured from a video shows firefighters responding to a fire at a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod on April 1. (Russian Ministry of Emergency Situation/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A fire broke out at a fuel depot in Belgorod, a Russian city near the Ukrainian border, the regional governor said on his Telegram channel Friday morning.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Belgorod region, accused Ukraine of being behind the blaze without providing further evidence.

“The fire at the oil depot occurred as a result of an air strike coming from two helicopters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces which entered the territory of the Russian Federation flying at low altitude. There are no victims,” said Gladkov.

CNN is unable to verify this claim.

The fire “engulfed fuel reservoirs,” Russian state media TASS reported, citing the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

A still image taken from video footage shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia, on April 1.
A still image taken from video footage shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia, on April 1. (Russian Emergencies Ministry/Reuters)

Two employees of the depot were injured in the fire but their lives are not in danger, Gladkov said. Residents in the vicinity of the depot are being evacuated, he added.

The emergency services are at the scene fighting the fire, and there is no threat to the population of the city, Gladkov said.

Some 16,000 cubic meters (3.52 million gallons) of fuel are on fire at the depot, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported on Friday, citing the emergency services.

Eight tanks with 2,000 cubic meters of fuel each are on fire and there is a threat of the blaze spreading to another eight tanks, the emergency services said, according to RIA Novosti.

CNN has sought comment from Ukraine regarding reports of a purported strike by helicopters on the Ukrainian fuel storage facility in Belgorod.

Bohdan Senyk, the head of the public affairs department of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said there was “no information” about the incident.

Putin informed: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday Russian President Vladimir Putin had been informed about the fire.

“The president was informed about Belgorod,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “You know that the Ministry of Emergency Situations was sent there. Steps are being taken to re-organize fuel supply points so that what happened in no case affects the level of supply of all necessary types of fuel.”

The Russian military has claimed air superiority over Ukraine.

“Air superiority during an operation is an absolute fact,” Peskov said. “And as for what happened, it probably shouldn’t be us giving out assessments, but our law enforcement agencies.”

On Wednesday, Gladkov said separate explosions at an ammunition dump in Belgorod region late Tuesday night may have occurred because of a fire, citing preliminary information.

Add context: Belgorod is close to the northeastern Ukraine-Russia border, beyond which lies the major Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The Belgorod area was used as a staging ground for Russian forces shortly before the invasion, and Kharkiv has since been relentlessly shelled and hit with missiles.

Video shows large fire at Russian fuel depot:

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