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Ukraine shelling continues in Russia's Belgorod as thousands relocated - governor

Published 06/04/2023, 03:28 AM
Updated 06/04/2023, 07:20 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows ammunition casing in a damaged street following what was said to be Ukrainian forces' shelling in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in the town of Shebekino in the Belgorod region, in this handout image released May 31, 2023.

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Ukrainian forces continued to shell Russia's border region of Belgorod overnight into Sunday after two people were killed the previous night and hundreds of children were evacuated away from the border, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

"Overnight, it was quite restless," Gladkov said on the Telegram channel, adding that the Shebekino and Volokonovsky districts had suffered "lots" of damage from the latest shelling.

Gladkov later wrote that fires had broken out in the town of Shebekino after Ukrainian forces shelled a market area in the centre, adding that nobody had been injured. Shebekino is about 7 km (4 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

More than 4,000 people have been relocated to temporary accommodation in the region, Gladkov said.

The reality of the war, which Moscow launched in Ukraine in February 2022, has been increasingly brought to Russia, with intensified shelling on border regions but also air strikes deep inside the country, including last week on Moscow.

In late May, Russia's military said it had repelled one of the most serious cross-border attacks by a Ukrainian "sabotage group" that it said had entered Russian territory in Belgorod.

Ukraine denied attacking Moscow last week and has also denied that its military is involved in the incursions into Belgorod. It says they are conducted by Russian volunteer fighters.

On Saturday, Gladkov escorted about 600 children from the region's Shebekino and Graivoron districts to the cities of Yaroslavl and Kaluga, far from the Ukrainian border.

"The children of Shebekino are very worried about their hometown," he said. "I started leaving, they stopped me and with anxiety started asking questions."

Shebekino, a town of about 40,000, and other places in Belgorod have been attacked repeatedly recently, with Gladkov telling Russian media that his region now lives in "conditions of actual war".

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows ammunition casing in a damaged street following what was said to be Ukrainian forces' shelling in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in the town of Shebekino in the Belgorod region, in this handout image released May 31, 2023. Governor of Russia's Belgorod Region Vyacheslav Gladkov via Telegram/Handout via REUTERS

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation," not a war, and says it was launched to protect Russia from the threat of Ukraine's moves toward the West.

Kyiv and its allies say it is an unprovoked war of aggression to grab land.

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