Ukraine officials give conflicting accounts of attack on Russian train

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KYIV, May 18 (Reuters) - Ukraine's territorial defence force said on Wednesday its fighters had blown up an armoured train carrying Russian troops, but an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelinskiy later said the attack had been confined to rails near the train.

Reuters could not independently verify the defence force's assertion, posted on Facebook, that it had carried out the attack in the occupied southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol.

The city lies in the region of Zaporizhzhia and in a belt of southern Ukrainian land that was occupied by Russian forces after they invaded on Feb. 24.

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The defence force - the reservist branch of Ukraine's armed forces - said in an online posting that explosives had detonated under a rail car carrying military personnel. It did not elaborate on the extent of the damage.

But several hours later, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych gave a conflicting account, saying Ukrainian forces had blown up the tracks ahead of the train.

"The partisans got it, although they did not blow up the armoured train itself," he said in a video posted on social media, saying the Russians "got off lightly."

Arestovych said the incident showed that the partisan movement was actively disrupting Russian forces.

Ukrainian news reports say partisans have been operating actively in Melitopol. The town's mayor was taken away by Russian troops for several days in March before being released.

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Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Ronald Popeski; Editing by Stephen Coates

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