Russian leaders say they have seen one of the biggest assaults of its kind since the start of the war in Ukraine. They have accused a Ukrainian "sabotage group" of crossing the border then launching an attack on Monday on the town of Kozinka. At least eight people were wounded. Ukrainian officials denied any responsibility.
Officials in the region have not released many details. Still, the governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said he had imposed a "counter-terrorist operation" regime.
A spokesperson claiming to be part of the opposition group Liberty of Russia Legion said they carried out the attack to push for freedoms Russians have lost under President Vladimir Putin.
Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said the Ukrainians are trying to "divert attention" from Bakhmut. Russian forces have fought since last August to control the city in eastern Ukraine in the longest battle of the war. Over the weekend, they claimed to have captured the area.
Ukrainian leaders said their soldiers still had a foothold inside the city and were advancing on the outskirts. They said those troops will try to encircle Bakhmut to make it difficult for the Russians to hold their positions.