Reuters, March 2, LONDON – On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin claimed that a “terrorist attack” had struck Russia in the southern Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine. He also threatened to smash what he claimed to be a Ukrainian sabotage gang that had fired at civilians.

Ukraine claimed that Russia had staged a fake “provocation,” but it also seemed to imply that some sort of operation had in fact been carried out by Russians who were opposed to the government.

Since Moscow invaded Ukraine a year ago in what it referred to as a “special military operation,” there have been reports of shelling and intermittent sabotage in Russia’s border regions, which have grown more unstable.Putin, in a televised address, accused the group of opening fire on civilians in a car, including children. Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz said the attack had killed two people and wounded an 11-year-old boy.

“They won’t achieve anything. We will crush them,” said Putin, saying the group was made up of the kind of people who wanted to rob Russia of its history and language.

The FSB security service said in an initial statement that the army and FSB were trying to liquidate “an armed group of Ukrainian nationalists” who had crossed the border.