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Russia says it repels fresh Belgorod border incursion by 'Ukrainian terrorist formations'

This handout picture posted on May 23, 2023, on the official Telegram account of Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, shows a damaged house in the Belgorod region. (Photo by AFP)

Moscow says it has repelled an attempt by the "Ukrainian terrorist formations" to break into the country's southwestern borders after the Ukrainian capital came under almost nightly airstrikes over the past month.

“Russia’s Armed Forces together with units of the border service…foiled a fresh attempt by the Kiev regime to conduct a terrorist attack against the civilian population of the city of Shebekino,” Russia's defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a daily briefing on Thursday, referring to a Belgorod region town close to the border.

The Ministry of Defense cited at least three attempts to cross the country and said that 70 militiamen, five tanks, four armored vehicles, seven pickup trucks, and one Kamaz truck were involved in the attack.

The ministry announced that it used air force and artillery to repel these attacks and killed more than 50 Ukrainian fighters.

The governor of the Belgorod region said two people were killed and two others injured on Friday after Ukraine shelled a town near the border. 

Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said shelling had struck a section of road in the town of Maslova
Pristan, some 15 km from Ukraine's northern Kharkiv region. 

"Two women were travelling in one of them. They died from their injuries on the spot," he said.

The Belgorod region, which witnessed an unprecedented two-day armed attack last week, has come under heavy fire in recent days.

Gladkov said 12 people had been injured in the past 24 hours in the Shebkino region, whose residents have flocked to displaced persons centers in the city of Belgorod.

Belgorod Mayor Valentin Demidov said two people were injured in the city when a drone crashed near a gas station.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin was being kept informed of the situation.

He emphasized that currently the main question is providing assistance to the people and supporting resettlement for those who need it.

Peskov also condemned the silence of the international community regarding these strikes.

"Despite every opportunity to see videos describing strikes on residential buildings, social infrastructure ... there is not a single word criticizing Kiev," Peskov said.

After at least eight drones were used in that attack over the past week, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the West of pushing Ukraine's leadership into reckless actions.Ukraine has denied "direct involvement".

Russian air defenses separately shot down several Ukrainian drones near the city of Kursk, the regional governor said early Friday.

The wider Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, has been regularly bombed by Kiev forces since the conflict began.

Dmitry Medvedev, the vice chairman of the Russian Security Council, described the actions of the Ukrainian government as terrorism, saying the only way to deal with terrorists is to destroy them.

"This is an act of terrorism, and there is no other way to qualify it. If it is an act of terrorism, there is only one way to respond to it. No country can afford to negotiate with terrorists, terrorists must be destroyed," Medvedev said.

Russia began what it described as a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, as part of a national security measure against the persisting eastern advance of the US-led NATO military alliance.

Moscow also said the military operation was aimed at defending the pro-Russia population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev, and also to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

Since the start of the war, the US and its Western allies have been providing Kiev with military equipment worth tens of billions of dollars. Western weapons supplied to Kiev include advanced missile systems, armored vehicles, tanks, and communication systems.

Long-range attack drones have been also added to the list of Western weapons supplied to the Ukrainian forces fighting against Russian troops.

Russia has repeatedly warned against flooding Ukraine with weapons, insisting the massive shipments of armaments to Kiev will only prolong the conflict.

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