Belgorod: Russia blames Ukraine for shelling inside border

The Russian region of Belgorod has again come under attack from across the Ukrainian border, with at least eight people reportedly hurt in shelling.

Russia’s defence ministry has also claimed it thwarted other attempts by Ukraine to “invade” the region.

Kyiv has not commented on the allegations but has denied involvement in previous attacks across the border.

The latest strikes come more than a week after one of the most significant cross-border raids since the war began.

Belgorod’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said Ukraine’s armed forces shelled several districts on Thursday, damaging buildings. No fatalities have been reported but Mr Gladkov said hundreds of families would be evacuated once the situation became calmer.

Mr Gladkov added that as a result, some school exams in Shebekino had been cancelled and the authorities were now devising a way to allow students to secure university places without sitting them.

He also said that there had been an explosion in Belgorod city, which was thought to have been caused by a drone. Two people were injured in that attack.

Alongside the shelling, Russia’s defence ministry has claimed its servicemen in the region repelled several attacks.

It said in a statement on Thursday evening that more than 50 Ukrainian “terrorists”, four armoured combat vehicles, a Grad multiple rocket launcher and a pickup truck were destroyed. It has not been possible to independently verify the reports.

There have been conflicting reports about violence on the border.

BBC Verify has seen videos from two pro-Ukrainian paramilitary groups, the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps, announcing raids into Russia’s territory.

A car damaged in shelling in the town of ShebekinoIMAGE SOURCE,MIC IZVESTIA/IZ.RU
Image caption,

The town of Shebekino in Belgorod region was among those shelled on Thursday

Despite this, local officials have denied reports of a Ukrainian troop breakthrough in Shebekino adding that the situation remains difficult and that the “shelling is ongoing”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin was aware of the situation in Belgorod and criticised the international committee for failing to condemn Ukraine.

There have been a spate of attacks inside Russia in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of trying to frighten Russians following drone attacks in the capital, Moscow.

Kyiv has denied involvement in any of the attacks.

But the US is investigating whether any of its military equipment was used in the earlier incursion in Belgorod on 22 May and said it did not support any attack on Russian soil.

Meanwhile, three people have died during another attack on Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. An 11-year-old girl is reported to be among the dead.

It is the fourth attack on the city this week and comes after 17 strikes were launched on Kyiv throughout May.

It comes as the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, again called for Ukraine to be allowed to join Nato and the EU.

He was visiting Moldova for the European Political Community summit, where he also met European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen.

He said their talks touched on security guarantees for Ukraine while it’s waiting to join Nato.