April 17, 2024

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Russian border region closes malls and schools as Ukrainian attacks escalate

Russian border region closes malls and schools as Ukrainian attacks escalate

Maxim Shemetov – Reuters

The city of Belgorod pictured on March 10.


All schools and colleges in parts of Belgorod region, Russia The region's governor announced that it would be closed on Monday and Tuesday after increasing Ukrainian attacks on the region.

Shopping centers will also be closed on Sunday and Monday, Vyacheslav Gladkov added in a statement on Telegram. The affected areas are located along the border with Ukraine. The city of Belgorod itself is also under lockdown.

Repeated attacks have left the Russians largely isolated from the conflict in Ukraine.

Ukrainian intelligence chief Kirilo Budanov said on Saturday that the Russians are among the subversive groups attacking the Russian regions of Belgorod and Kursk bordering Ukraine.

“This is a story about how the Russians solved this internal issue. We may like some of them more and others less. But they are both Russians,” Budanov said.

He added during a live broadcast that the attacks will continue.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the attacks on the Belgorod and Kursk regions were largely unsuccessful, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin was constantly being kept informed of the situation, Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

In his previous statement, Belgorod“The situation is very difficult in the city and in the Belgorod region,” Belgorod Region Governor Gladkov said. Of course, safety is the most important issue for all of us.”

“It is clear that teachers, nannies and technical staff are all concerned,” he said.

Schools and colleges in the affected areas were effectively closed as of Tuesday evening last week, when Gladkov announced that students would begin what he called “self-learning days” until Friday. At the time of the announcement, he said he hoped schools would be able to resume normal activities on Monday.

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Maxim Shemetov – Reuters

A man rides a bicycle near the damaged pavilion of the market that was recently bombed in the town of Shibykino in the Belgorod region of Russia on March 11.

Ukraine has been attacking the Belgorod region intermittently since the first half of 2023 but has intensified bombing and strikes about a week ago.

As in other parts of Russia, people in Belgorod are casting their votes in a poll that is widely expected to see Vladimir Putin return to power as president.

Voting continued for the second day on Saturday. With the authorities arresting many Russians For carrying out acts of civil disobedience.

Gladkov also said on Saturday that two people were killed in early morning attacks, including a truck driver whose car was hit by a shell.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a post on its own channel on the Telegram application on Saturday that Russian forces repelled attempts by Ukrainian fighters to infiltrate Russia in several locations, saying that they carried out a “complex fire attack on the enemy’s concentrations of manpower and equipment.”

Also on Saturday, a Ukrainian source told CNN that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) carried out drone strikes on three oil refineries in Russia's Samara region.

The three refineries – all of which belong to the oil company Rosneft – are located along the Volga River in Novokuibyshevsk, Samara, and Syzran, and lie within 1,000 kilometers of Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Local residents in Belgorod posted videos on regional social media platforms showing explosions in the city and fires burning outside residential buildings where the Ukrainian strikes took place.

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In one video, a woman is heard telling her mother that she is afraid to leave her apartment.

Earlier in the week, Ukrainian groups of Russian fighters on Tuesday launched a cross-border attack in Belgorod, while the city of Belgorod came under intense drone attacks and bombing.

At least five people were reported killed in the past week, according to a CNN tally, and dozens injured.