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31 Dec, 2023 08:01

Alarm sirens sound in Russian border city day after deadly Ukrainian attack

The fresh warning comes after an earlier missile barrage killed over 20 civilians, including four children
Alarm sirens sound in Russian border city day after deadly Ukrainian attack

A new missile alert has been briefly heard in the Russian city of Belgorod on the morning after Saturday's deadly Ukrainian attack that left more than 20 people dead, including several children, as well as over 100 injured.

A warning was issued early on Sunday by Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, who urged all residents to seek shelter from a new potential attack from Ukraine, just 40km from the city. The governor canceled the alarm about 30 minutes later, without saying whether it had been a false alarm.

According to the latest data, 24 people, including four children, were killed and 108 wounded in that attack. The strike also caused widespread destruction, damaging dozens of apartment blocks and more than 50 vehicles, Gladkov said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday’s attack used a Czech-made RM-70 Vampire multiple-launch rocket system, as well as domestically produced Olkha rockets armed with cluster bombs. The latter type of weapon, which disperses a large number of submunitions over a wide area, is banned in more than 100 countries due to the high risk it poses to civilians.

Russian officials have called Saturday’s tragedy a “terrorist act” and claimed that Western countries, which have provided Kiev with massive amounts of military aid, were complicit in the attack.

While Moscow has claimed that a Czech-made weapon was used in the barrage and called an urgent UN Security Council meeting on the matter, Prague’s representative to the organization did not attend the session. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said that Prague “refuses to let Russia summon us anywhere” and does not want to “serve the aggressor's propaganda.”

However, Moscow suggested that the Czech Republic skipped the meeting because it was afraid to publicly respond to the accusations.