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Russia Claims Ukrainian Attacks on Civilian Targets and Oil Refineries in Its Border Areas

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: June 5, 2023
A view shows a seemingly wounded woman being led away by transponders following what was said to be Ukrainian forces' shelling in the course of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the town of Shebekino in the Belgorod region, in this handout image released May 31, 2023. Governor of Russia's Belgorod Region Vyacheslav Gladkov via Telegram/Handout via REUTERS

Russian news services have reported the Ukrainian shelling of Russian targets in occupied territory in Ukraine, Russian territory in the border region, and even the capital Moscow.

The Kremlin said Ukrainian artillery hit the town of Shebekino in the Belgorod region, on the border with Ukraine, for a third time this week.

Four people were wounded, of whom two were hospitalized, Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said. Furthermore, the shellings had damaged buildings, power lines, and a public school.

Later, Gladkov told Russian television there had been more Ukrainian shelling of Shebekino, and a fire had broken out at an industrial site.

Moreover, drones struck two oil refineries 40-50 miles (65-80 km) east of Russia’s biggest oil export terminals on Wednesday, May 31. Russian officials said a fire at one of the terminals was later put out. However, they did not officially blame Ukraine for the strikes.

Out-of-control conflict

The recent actions on Russian targets should be seen as retaliation for the Russians’ invasion of Ukrainian territory and as a prelude to the long-awaited spring counteroffensive that the Ukrainians would deliver with the seemingly inexhaustible financial and material relief they have been privileged to receive from the West.  

Inside Russian-occupied Ukraine, Russian officials said five people had been killed, and 19 had been wounded in a rocket attack on a farm in the village of Karpaty in Luhansk, one of the four regions Russia has annexed in the southern and eastern regions of the country.

Several drone attacks have also hit targets in affluent Moscow neighborhoods injuring two people. 

The Kremlin said Moscow’s air defenses worked effectively but had room for improvement.

Heavy fighting continues west of Bakhmut, the city that the Russians took on May 22, mostly relying on the forces of the Wagner mercenary company. 

Since then, the Wagner assault units have been rotated out and replaced with troops of the regular Russian army. 


The Russian ambassador in Washington accused the U.S. government of supporting the drone attacks on civilian targets in Moscow. Still, U.S. administration officials denied this and said they only support Ukrainian initiatives to retake lost territory from the Russians.

Meanwhile, the White House on May 31 promised more aid packages of $300 million worth of anti-aircraft artillery and ordinance for the beleaguered Ukrainians.

Black Sea grain deal

Away from the front lines of the conflict, the United Nations was trying to salvage a deal allowing safe Black Sea grain exports. 

The U.N. and Turkey brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative between Moscow and Kiev last July to help tackle a global food crisis aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a leading grain exporter.

To that end, the U.N. has made a “mutually beneficial” proposal that Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey begin preparatory work for the transit of Russian ammonia through Ukraine, a source close to the talks said on May 31.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in his nightly video address that day, accused Russia of blocking all activity at the port of Pivdennyi, with 1.5 million tons of agricultural products unable to move.

Reuters contributed to this report.