Russia says two children killed in Ukrainian attack on Belgorod


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At least 14 people, including two children, have been killed and 108 injured following a Ukrainian attack on the centre of the Russian provincial capital of Belgorod, the Russian Emergencies Ministry has said.

Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Saturday that the attack on Belgorod, about 30km (19 miles) from the border with Ukraine, had 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 the deadliest attacks since the war began in February 2022. The death toll has risen to 39 from those attacks.

Belgorod is about 600km (373 miles) from the Russian capital, Moscow, and has been a front-line region, serving as a vital base for the Kremlin’s armed 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.

And Russian forces shot down 32 Ukrainian drones across the country, Moscow officials said earlier on Saturday.

Drones were seen in the skies over 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 to discuss the deadly strike.

“We have requested a meeting of the Security Council on Belgorod for 15:00 New York time (2000 GMT) today, 30 December,” Moscow’s deputy permanent representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said.

Cities across western Russia have come under regular attack from drones since May, with Russian officials blaming Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials never acknowledge responsibility for attacks on Russian territory or the Crimean Peninsula. However, larger aerial attacks against Russia have previously followed heavy assaults on Ukrainian cities.

Day of mourning

Russian drone attacks against Ukraine continued on Saturday, with the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reporting that 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones had been shot down across the Kherson, Khmelnytskyi, and Mykolaiv regions.

On Friday, Moscow’s forces launched more than 100 missiles and dozens of drones across Ukraine, an onslaught described by one air force official as the biggest aerial barrage of the war.

The attack damaged a maternity hospital, apartment blocks, and schools, with rescuers continuing to search through the rubble.

“Relief operations in the aftermath of yesterday’s Russian attack continue. Almost 120 cities and villages have been affected, with hundreds of civilian objects damaged,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on X on Saturday.

“Russian attack affected a total of 159 people. As of now, unfortunately, there are 39 fatalities … Those injured have received all the necessary assistance,” he added.

January 1 will be declared a day of mourning in Kyiv, where at least 16 people were killed, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

The United Nations Security Council criticised Russia for carrying out its massive air assault at a meeting on Friday. But Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, said Moscow had “exclusively only targeted military infrastructure in Ukraine”.

Fighting along the front line is largely bogged down by winter weather after Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive failed to make a significant breakthrough along the roughly 1,000km (620-mile) line of contact.

Russia’s continuing aerial attacks have also generated concern among Ukraine’s neighbours.

Poland’s defence forces said on Friday that a Russian missile had briefly entered its airspace, however, Russian sources said Warsaw had not given the Kremlin evidence of an airspace violation.

Russia says two children killed in Ukrainian attack on Belgorod

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