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MOSCOW: Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukraine of preparing to blow up buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk and then accuse Moscow of carrying out war crimes and targeting civilians in a false flag operation.

The defence ministry provided no evidence for the claims, which it outlined in a post shared on social media on Sunday, saying that the alleged attacks would be used by Kyiv to push for Western governments to increase weapons supplies to the country.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the battlefield claims of either side.

A Russian missile killed at least three when it struck a residential building in the city of Kramatorsk on Thursday, police in Ukraine said. Russia has not publicly commented on that strike.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians throughout what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Kyiv and Western governments say hundreds of civilians have been killed in Russian missile strikes on residential sites across Ukraine since Moscow’s forces invaded last February.

On Sunday, Russia’s defence ministry said Kyiv planned to detonate three medical buildings - dispensaries and a hospital - and “accuse Russia of an allegedly ‘deliberate attack’ on civilian objects”.

“The bombing of the medical institutions will be presented as another ‘atrocity’ of Russian troops, requiring a response from the world community and accelerating the supply of long-range missiles to Kyiv (to be used) for strikes on Russian territory,” the defence ministry said. There was no immediate response from Kyiv to the claims.

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