The Russian Defense Ministry's claim that it killed Ukrainian intelligence officers in the Dec. 30 attack on Kharkiv is "the latest nonsense from the aggressor state," the spokesperson of Ukraine's military intelligence agency, Andrii Yusov, told Ukrainska Pravda on Dec. 31.
Residential buildings, a hotel, and premises of health care institutions – including a regional clinical hospital, regional dental polyclinic, and two city hospitals – were damaged when Russia launched its attack against Kharkiv on Dec. 30, according to Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov.
The number of wounded stands at 28 people. Russia later launched its second attack against Kharkiv hours later, but no additional casualties were reported.
Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that the strike on the Kharkiv Palace Hotel had killed Ukrainian intelligence officers, including members of Kraken, a Ukrainian special forces unit, for their alleged involvement in "the preparation of subversive actions on Russian territory."
There are no facts supporting this claim.
"We can report that during the recent terrorist act and missile strike by the Russian Federation in Kharkiv yesterday, no personnel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry, and accordingly, none of the members of the Kraken special forces unit were harmed," Yusov said.
"At the same time, the aggressor once again targeted civilians, not military objects. This is a consistent practice of the Russian Federation and its terrorist missile strikes, which are aimed specifically at civilian infrastructure and peaceful residents."
Several hours before the first Kharkiv attack, Russian authorities claimed a Ukrainian attack on Russia's Belgorod Oblast, including the regional capital.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility. Kyiv generally does not comment on reports of attacks and explosions on Russian soil.
A day prior, Russia launched a massive attack against Ukrainian cities, killing over 40 people and wounding over 160 people. The death toll in Kyiv alone is 23.