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Moscow: Ukraine missile attack kills 3, damages buildings in south Russian city

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian troops fire with surface-to-surface rockets toward Russian positions at a frontline in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, June 7, 2022. (File photo by AFP)

At least three people have reportedly been killed and dozens of residential buildings damaged in a missile strike in a Russian border city as Moscow blames Kiev for the attack.

Eleven apartment buildings and nearly 40 private houses were damaged in Belgorod, situated some 40 kilometers north of the border with Ukraine, said Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor, on Sunday. He added that at least four people were injured, including a 10-year-old boy.

“The sound was so strong that I jumped up, I woke up, got very scared and started screaming. All the windows in our house were shattered,” Reuters quoted a resident of the city as saying. The explosions occurred about 3 a.m. local time.

The Kremlin says Ukraine carried out the missile attack on Belgorod, home to nearly 400,000 people.

“I emphasize that this missile attack had been intentionally planned and was launched at the civilian population of Russian cities,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

Kiev has not commented on the allegation.

Furthermore, Konashenkov said Russian air defenses had managed to destroy three Tochka-U missiles. However, remains of one of them hit residential buildings, he added.

The Russian official said air defenses further destroyed explosives-laden Ukrainian drones approaching Kursk, another city in southern Russia.

Since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, there have been many reports of missile attacks on Belgorod and other border regions of Russia. Moscow insists Kiev has carried out such strikes.

The Ukrainian government has not claimed responsibility but has termed the incidents at Russia’s weapons stores and other sites “karma” for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Many killed in Ukrainian city of Sloviansk in shell attack: Mayor

Separately on Thursday, Vadim Lyakh, mayor of Ukraine’s eastern city of Sloviansk, said the city was hit by powerful shelling from multiple rocket launchers earlier in the day. “There are 15 fires. Many killed and wounded,” he said, adding that it was the most powerful recent shelling of the city.

Russia says its operation has been aimed at “demilitarizing” Ukraine’s two breakaway regions of Donetsk and its neighbor Luhansk - which together form the Donbas.

In 2014, the two regions declared themselves independent republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine’s Western-backed government. The declaration of independence was ensued by a conflict between the region’s pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian military.

Ordering the ongoing operation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years were suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”

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