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18 Mar, 2024 12:09

11 dead after week of Ukrainian strikes on Russian region – official

82 people, including children, have sustained injuries, health minister of Belgorod Region Andrey Ikonnikov said
11 dead after week of Ukrainian strikes on Russian region – official

Over the past week, Kiev’s attacks on Russia’s Belgorod Region, which borders Ukraine, have resulted in the deaths of 11 civilians, including children, while 82 more have been injured, regional health minister Andrey Ikonnikov reported on Monday.

Ukraine intensified its attacks on Russia’s border regions last week ahead of the presidential election in Russia, which was held Friday through Sunday. The attacks involved drone raids, artillery strikes and attempted ground incursions.

“Overall, between March 12-18, we had 93 casualties. 11 of them died,” Ikonnikov told a department meeting, as quoted by TASS news.

According to the minister, of those who sustained injuries, 41 are currently in hospital of which nine are in serious-but-stable condition. He noted that some require “longer treatment” and may have to be relocated from regional hospitals to a federal health center.

Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported later on Monday that Russian air defense systems had repelled another Ukrainian attack. However, Kiev’s forces managed to land a direct hit on a residential building, resulting in the deaths of two people. Four others, including a little girl, were injured in this attack, Gladkov said.

Belgorod Region, like other Russian border regions, has come under repeated Ukrainian fire since the launch of Russia’s military operation in February 2022, with attacks intensifying over the past week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted that if such attacks from the Ukrainian side continue, he would consider the option of creating a restricted ‘sanitary zone’ on the territory of Ukraine, from which it would not be possible to target Russian regions.

Aside from drone and artillery strikes, which, Moscow claims, often involve Western-supplied weaponry, Kiev’s forces have recently also attempted several incursions into Russia’s border regions. The latest was repelled on Saturday, with Russia’s Defense Ministry reporting that a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group had tried to break into the village of Kozinka in Belgorod Region, located just over a kilometer from the border.

Cross-border incursions have also been attempted in other villages in Belgorod Region as well as in Kursk Region, according to the Defense Ministry, which reported that Kiev has suffered over 1,500 casualties in the failed attacks and lost dozens of pieces of equipment, including several tanks and armored personnel carriers.

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