4 people were killed in the bombing of Belgorod, Russia, bordering Ukraine
At least four civilians were killed and 27 others were wounded yesterday (Friday) in bombing operations targeting the Russian Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, whose capital, Kiev, was hit by a wave of missile strikes for the sixth day, according to the French Press Agency.
For days, the Belgorod region has been targeted with unprecedented intense strikes on Russian territory since the start of the conflict in Ukraine last year.
Yesterday, the governor of the Russian region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that the shells fired by the Ukrainian forces crashed on a road near the town of Chebykino, which is about ten kilometers from Ukraine and is frequently bombed.
Gladkov said in a message on “Telegram” that “shrapnel from a shell hit passing cars, and in one of them two women (…) were killed on the spot from their wounds.”
In the evening, two more civilians were killed in the town of Sobolivka in the bombing of Grad rockets, which also left six wounded, including two children, according to Gladkov.
Indicating the severity of the strikes, the governor said that 21 people had been injured in four regions, including the regional capital, Belgorod. He also talked about the bombing of several cities and villages.
The strikes on Belgorod have intensified in recent days, while Kiev confirms that it is preparing to launch a major attack on the areas seized by Russian forces in Ukraine.
The most affected district is the town of Shebekino, near the border, with a population of 40,000, some of whom have fled. “Yesterday, more than 850 shells fell in the area,” Gladkov said.
And the Russian army said (Thursday) that it had repelled, with its artillery and air force, a Ukrainian attempt to “invade” the Belgorod region, a week after a surprise incursion by militants that shocked Russia.
Groups of Russian volunteers fighting in the ranks of Kiev claimed responsibility for these attacks on Russian soil. The Ukrainian authorities denied any involvement.
In the face of this bombing, more than 2,500 people were housed in temporary centers in the region, especially in its capital, which also bears the name Belgorod, according to what the mayor, Valentin Demidov, told the French Press Agency.
Yesterday, a journalist from the agency visited a stadium in Belgorod that was turned into a shelter for about a thousand people. The situation in the city was calm.
Yesterday, the Russian authorities announced the killing of three civilians in Ukrainian bombing of the occupied towns of Donetsk and Makievka in eastern Ukraine.
In Ukraine, the capital, Kiev, was targeted by a new wave of explosive drones and missiles at dawn (Friday), according to the mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, stressing that no injuries were reported.
The Ukrainian army said, “Tonight, the enemy used 15 (cruise) missiles and 18 Iranian attack drones (witnesses) to launch strikes,” stressing that “all these air targets were destroyed by our defenders.”
Hours later, the Russian army confirmed that it had bombed and “hit” Ukrainian air defense systems covering “essential military infrastructure” at night.
Moscow’s “strategic failure”
Russia has multiplied its drone and missile attacks on Kiev since the beginning of May, most of them at night, in a tactic that Ukraine condemns as aimed at terrorizing the civilian population.
Three people, including a child, were killed this morning (Thursday) in Kiev in one of these attacks.
In other parts of Ukraine, two people were killed (Friday) in strikes targeting the Kharkiv region, and one person was killed in the Sumy region in the north-east of the country.
Diplomatically, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited yesterday Finland, which borders Russia and which recently joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Blinken rejected any cease-fire that is not suitable for Kiev, stressing that continuing to arm Ukraine and strengthening its strength is the only way to achieve “real peace.”
The US secretary also saw that the attack in Ukraine had turned into a “strategic failure” for Moscow.
Headed back to Washington after a productive day in Finland. US-Finnish relations are stronger than ever, and as @NATO Allies, we will continue to collaborate on the most pressing challenges of our time, including in our unwavering support of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/9kKni5GGwi
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 2, 2023
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the “impossibility” of his country’s accession to NATO as long as the war continues.
The Ukrainian President had called (Thursday) the European leaders meeting in Moldova not to raise “doubts” regarding Kiev’s accession to NATO.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, telling reporters, “Such statements show that the Kiev regime is not ready, unwilling and unable to solve the problems on the negotiating table.”
He stressed that Moscow will continue to achieve its “goals” and defend its “security”.
For his part, the Chinese envoy to Ukraine, who returned to Beijing after a tour of Europe, admitted that “great difficulties” prevented Russia and Ukraine from starting peace talks.