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War in Ukraine: strikes continue, Belgorod governor evacuates 300 residents

The war is raging. Before dawn on Monday, Russia launched a large-scale missile attack on Ukraine, killing at least three people and wounding several others. The strikes also affected residential and industrial facilities. An air raid alert was declared throughout Ukraine at around 6 a.m. local time (5 a.m. French time).

As a result of a “combined attack by a cruise and ballistic missile,” according to the head of the Zaporozhye military administration, at 7 o’clock in the morning at least five explosions were heard in the city. Residential areas were damaged, at least four people were injured and at least three were killed. Four rockets were fired at Kharkov, causing serious damage to a school.

In the south, Ukrainian defense forces say they destroyed “eight enemy Shahed-131/136-type drones sent by the Russians from the Black Sea towards the Odessa and Nikolaev areas overnight. The debris of one of the downed drones fell onto an open area in the Odessa region, causing a fire that was quickly extinguished.

At 7:16 a.m. local time, explosions were heard in Krivoy Rog in southern Ukraine. Earlier, the Air Force called on residents to take cover after the takeoff of Russian MiG-31K fighter jets capable of carrying Kinjal hypersonic air-to-surface missiles, nicknamed “daggers.” “The enemy is viciously attacking peaceful cities,” said the mayor of Krivoy Rog, Alexander Vilkul, in the Telegram messenger. The extent of the damage is not yet known. Its 15,000 citizens have already been deprived of drinking water, electricity and heating due to a weak electrical grid that cannot withstand the current extreme weather conditions.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said that at 7 o’clock in the morning “over the Belgorod region” they “intercepted” a Ukrainian S-200 air missile. The Russian region bordering Ukraine has become the target of Kyiv’s retaliation in recent days. On December 30, a Ukrainian attack killed 25 people. This is the highest number of civilian deaths on Russian soil since Moscow’s offensive began on February 24, 2022. Since then, attempts at Ukrainian attacks have multiplied, especially in the form of missile assistance.

Faced with the threat, the governor of Belgorod on Friday invited residents to leave the most threatened areas. “About 300 Belgorod residents who decided to temporarily evacuate are now located at reception centers in Stary Oskol, Gubkin and the Korotchansky district,” further from the border, Vyacheslav Gladkov confirmed in a video published on Telegram, adding that “1,300 applications for sending children from Belgorod to school camps outside the city, to other regions.”

The evacuation measure is unprecedented for a major Russian city, and the Kremlin has been trying for almost two years to say that the war does not affect Russians. Belgorod residents were also asked on Friday to secure their windows for the first time in two years to “protect themselves” from possible glass shards in the face of Ukrainian strikes. Regional authorities also postponed the start of the school year, which was supposed to take place on Tuesday, by ten days.

Source: Le Parisien

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