Russia evacuates children from border villages near Ukraine

AFP , Wednesday 31 May 2023

Russia will evacuate hundreds of children from villages on its border with Ukraine given a "worsening situation" in the western Belgorod region, intensely shelled for days, authorities said Wednesday.

In this image taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, damaged armored military vehicles are seen after fighting in Russia s western Belgorod region on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. AP


Belgorod has seen near daily attacks on areas near the border and last week was the scene of a dramatic armed incursion from Ukraine.

"The situation in (the border village of) Shebekino is worsening," regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.

"We are starting today to evacuate children from the Shebekino and Graivoron districts," Gladkov said, referring to the most affected border areas.

"Today, the first 300 children will be taken to Voronezh" -- a city around 250 kilometres (155 miles) further into Russia.

Gladkov said Shebekino was shelled again overnight, causing "a lot of damage", a day after one person was killed by shelling.

He said a rocket strike hit the village at 3:15 am local time (0015 GMT) and injured four people.

"Nobody, thank God, died," Gladkov said.

He posted photographs of a blackened burned cars lying in the grass near a playground and a rocket that landed on a road.

Also on Wednesday, authorities in the southern Krasnodar region said a drone hit the Ilsky oil refinery, without causing damage or casualties.

Moscow was on Tuesday targeted in an unprecedented drone attack, which President Vladimir Putin said was a Ukrainian attempt to "frighten" Russians.

Attacks on Russian territory have increased in recent weeks as Kyiv says it is preparing a major counter-offensive to push back Moscow's forces.

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