At least 21 people, including three children, have been killed and 111 more injured following a Ukrainian attack on the centre of the Russian provincial capital of Belgorod, according to the Russian Emergencies Ministry.
Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Saturday that the attack on Belgorod, about 30km (19 miles) from the border with Ukraine, hit a residential area. In a Telegram post, he urged all residents to move to air raid shelters as sirens sounded.
Belgorod borders Ukraine’s Luhansk, Sumy and Kharkiv regions, some of which were hit by Russian air raids on Ukraine on Friday in what was one of its deadliest attacks since Moscow began its full-scale invasion in February 2022. The death toll from those attacks, which damaged a maternity hospital, apartment blocks, and schools, has now risen to at least 41.
Belgorod is about 600km (373 miles) from the Russian capital, Moscow, and has served as a vital base for the Kremlin’s forces to launch attacks towards Ukraine.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said in a statement the attack would “not go unpunished”.
The ministry said its anti-aircraft units had destroyed 13 Ukrainian rockets over the Belgorod region on Friday.
Russian forces also shot down 32 Ukrainian drones across the country, Moscow officials said earlier on Saturday.
Drones were seen in the skies over the Moscow, Bryansk, Oryol, and Kursk regions, the ministry said in a statement. All the drones had been destroyed by air defences, it added.
Russia on Saturday requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to discuss the deadly strike.
© 2023, GDC. © GDC and www.globaldefensecorp.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.globaldefensecorp.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.