UPDATED: Blasts heard in Russian city of Belgorod near border with Ukraine

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April 3 (Reuters) – Two blasts were heard in the Russian city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine on Sunday, two witnesses told Reuters, days after Russian authorities accused Ukrainian forces of striking a fuel depot there.

The cause of the blasts was not immediately clear. One witness said the blasts were so powerful that they rattled the windows of her home in Belgorod.

The blasts come days after Russia’s defence ministry said two Ukrainian helicopters struck a fuel depot in the city, some 35 km (22 miles) from the border with Ukraine, after entering Russia at extremely low altitude in the early hours of Friday. [Read full story

The Kremlin said the incident could undermine peace efforts, while a top Ukrainian security official denied responsibility.

A local official from the region around Belgorod said there had been a blast in the village of Tomarovka on Sunday but that no one had been hurt and no property damaged.

“There was a bang, debris fell onto the ground,” Oleg Medvedev, head of the Yakovlevsky city district outside Belgorod, wrote on the Telegram messenger application.

He did not elaborate on the nature of the debris nor on the cause of the blast. It was unclear if the blast described by Medvedev was one of the blasts heard by the witnesses.

Photo – A handout photo made available by the press service of the Russian Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM of Russia) shows the site of a fire at the oil depot in the city of Belgorod, Russia. EPA-EFE/EMERCOM OF RUSSIA PRESS SERVICE

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