Belgorod: Shelling in Russian border region kills two, governor says

June 2, 2023  –Two women have been killed in shelling in the Russian border region of Belgorod, its governor says.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said the victims were hit by shrapnel as they were travelling in a car near the village of Maslova Pristan.

Officials in the neighbouring Bryansk and Kursk regions said buildings had been damaged in shelling and an overnight drone attack.

Ukrainian officials have so far not commented.

However Kyiv has denied involvement in previous attacks across the border, which it says are carried out by Russian anti-government groups.

In Belgorod, Mr Gladkov said two more people travelling in another car had been wounded in the shelling.

One of the most prominent anti-Kremlin paramilitary groups said it had been engaging in military operations in the nearby village of Novaya Tavolzhanka.

The Freedom of Russian Legion (FRL) said two civilians had been killed after the Russian artillery mistook their vehicle for a car containing FRL members.

Neither claim has been independently verified.

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Long-range drones also hit two towns in the Smolensk region, the local governor there said, while the Kaluga region’s head said an explosion had been reported in a forest.

Recent weeks have seen an increase in cross border attacks. On Thursday eight people were wounded in shelling in Belgorod and the latest strikes come more than a week after one of the most significant cross-border raids since the war began.

On Friday Ukrainian officials said air defences had shot down about 30 missiles and drones fired by Russia.

Russia has launched more than 20 missile and drone attacks on Ukraine over the past month.

Speaking from Helsinki on Friday, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “a strategic failure”.

America’s top diplomat was speaking during a visit to Finland, Nato’s newest member, as part of a series of trips to several Nordic countries.

He said the invasion had weakened Russia diplomatically, economically and militarily while strengthening the European Union, Nato and Ukrainian national identity.

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