Russia thwarts more Belgorod attacks, blames Ukraine

Defence ministry says it repelled three attacks in the border area, which has come under intensified fire since last month.

Belgorod mayor Valentin Demidov visiting a temporary shelter for residents. He is surrounded by men and women.
Russian officials evacuated residents from the town of Shebekino to temporary shelters [@v_v_demidov Telegram via AFP]

Russia’s defence ministry has said it thwarted three cross-border attacks near the town of Shebekino, as it accused Ukraine of using what it said were “terrorist formations”.

Shebekino lies in the Belgorod region, which has been targeted in a number of attacks since May.

“Overall, the attack involved up to 70 militants, five tanks, four armoured vehicles, seven pick-up trucks and a Kamaz truck,” the Russian defence ministry said on Thursday evening, reporting at least three attempted crossings.

It said it used air force and artillery to repel the attacks and killed more than 50 Ukrainian fighters.

The Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), a far-right paramilitary group of ethnic Russians that supports Ukraine, claimed to be fighting inside Russia.

“The second phase promised by the RVC’s commander has begun!” it said on Telegram, referring to a previous incursion, alongside images of fighters firing weapons.

Another anti-Kremlin group that calls itself the Freedom of Russia Legion also announced a plan to launch a cross-border raid.

The Belgorod region saw an unprecedented two-day armed incursion last week and has come under intensified fire in the past days.

Ukraine denies its military is involved in the incursions and says they are conducted by Russian volunteer fighters.

A still image from a drone footage released by Freedom of Russia Legion showing an attack in Belgorod. The roofs of buildings are visible, an explosion and lots of dust and earth.
A still image from drone footage released by Freedom of Russia Legion shows what the group claims is the destruction of Russian military targets in the Belgorod region of Russia [Freedom of Russia Legion via Reuters]

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the Belgorod region’s governor, accused Ukrainian armed forces of repeatedly shelling Shebekino with Soviet-designed grad 122mm rockets, setting alight a dormitory and damaging an administrative building.

Gladkov said at least 12 people had been wounded in the previous 24 hours.

Residents poured into centres for displaced people in Belgorod city.

“There are many families with children, including infants and disabled people. We will try to provide them with as much care as possible,” said city mayor Valentin Demidov.

Two people were wounded in the city when a drone crashed near a petrol station, he added.

It was not possible to independently verify accounts from either side.

The RVC and Freedom of Russia Legion claimed responsibility for last month’s cross-border raid that marked one of the most serious attacks on Russian territory since Moscow began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Source: News Agencies