Russia's Federal Security Service said Wednesday it has thwarted an incursion by Ukraine’s military into Crimea, saying two Russians were killed in the incident.
The armed incursion into Crimea was meant to target critical infrastructure in the territory and took place over the weekend, said the security service, also known as the FSB.
It said a Russian soldier and an FSB employee were killed in the clashes, adding that the incursion was pre-planned.
A spokesman for Ukraine’s defense intelligence rejected Russia’s claim about the alleged incursion, saying it was based on “fake information.”
People in Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for rejoining the Russian Federation in a referendum in March 2014. The West branded the move as Moscow’s annexation of the territory. The United States and its allies in Europe accuse Moscow of having a hand in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia, however, strongly denies the charges.
In April 2014, the government in Kiev launched the first round of its military operations in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which are populated mostly by pro-Russians, to crush anti-government protests there. The operations, however, led to deadly clashes between the two sides.
The crisis in eastern Ukraine has left nearly 9,500 people dead and over 21,000 others injured, according to the United Nations.
Despite ceasefire efforts, sporadic fighting continues to claim more lives.