Moscow will respond to attacks on Russian soil "extremely harshly", Russia's defence minister warned Wednesday, after Russian jets and artillery fought off an armed group that crossed from Ukraine.
The incursion was the most serious since Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine last year, with fighting in Russia's Belgorod region lasting days.
"We will continue to respond promptly and extremely harshly to such actions by Ukrainian militants," Sergei Shoigu told military officials, according to comments published by the defence ministry.
He reported Russian forces had killed "more than 70 Ukrainian terrorists" and had destroyed armed vehicles during the skirmishes, claims AFP is unable to independently verify.
Moscow said that the remaining fighters had been driven back across the border.
Shoigu said "wounded soldiers and the families of the dead" will be given grants of up to 5 million rubles ($62,550), as well as have loans paid off.
Members of two anti-Kremlin groups, the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps, claimed responsibility for the incursion while Kyiv denied official involvement.
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