Moscow reacts to deadly cross-border attack
Additional steps will be necessary to strengthen security in Russia’s regions bordering Ukraine because of repeated shelling by Kiev’s forces, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
This comes after a Ukrainian artillery strike on Solokhi, a village in Belgorod Region located about 11 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, left seven Russian civilians injured and one dead on Wednesday.
“First and foremost, this is a situation that indicates the necessity to introduce additional measures to strengthen security in regions bordering Ukraine,” Peskov told a press briefing.
He added that the Russian military could comment on other measures that might need to be taken in connection with such attacks.
On Wednesday, Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote about the attack on Solokhi on social media, adding that 17 houses and six cars were damaged as a result of the shelling and that a 14-year-old boy was among the injured.
Belgorod Region has been shelled by Ukrainian forces several times in recent weeks, but the attack of Solokhi is the first one that has resulted in a confirmed civilian death.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has previously warned that it would intensify strikes on targets in Ukraine if the country’s armed forces continued carrying out attacks within Russia. The ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov stated that “if such attempts continue, the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces will strike at the decision-making centers, including Kiev – something we have so far refrained from.”
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.