The Russian government says it has shot down 32 Ukrainian drones, a day after Russia launched one of the deadliest attacks of the Ukraine war.
At least 14 people, including two children, were killed and 108 others injured in a Ukrainian military attack on the center of Russia’s regional capital Belgorod, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry announced.
Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov announced on Saturday that the attack in Belgorod, about 30 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, hit a residential area. In a Telegram post, he called on all residents to move to air raid shelters when sirens sound.
Belgorod borders Ukraine’s Luhansk, Sumy and Kharkov regions, and parts of it were hit by Russian air raids on Ukraine on Friday. This airstrike was the deadliest airstrike since the war began in February 2022. The death toll from these air raids rose to 39. .
Belgorod, about 600 kilometers (373 miles) from the Russian capital Moscow, is a frontline region that has served as a key base from which Kremlin forces launch attacks into Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the attack “will not go unpunished.”
The ministry announced on Friday that anti-aircraft forces had destroyed 13 Ukrainian-made rockets over the Belgorod region.
Russian forces also shot down 32 Ukrainian drones across Ukraine, Moscow officials announced early Saturday.
The ministry said in a statement that the drone was spotted over the Moscow, Bryansk, Oryol and Kursk regions. It added that all the drones were destroyed by air defenses.
Cities in western Russia have been subject to regular drone attacks since May, with Russian authorities blaming Kiev.
Ukrainian authorities have never admitted responsibility for attacks on Russian territory or the Crimean peninsula. However, large-scale air strikes against Russia have previously followed heavy attacks on Ukrainian cities.
day of mourning
Russia’s drone attacks on Ukraine continued on Saturday, with the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reporting that 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones were shot down in the Kherson, Khmelnytsky and Mykolaiv regions.
On Friday, Moscow’s military fired more than 100 missiles and dozens of drones across Ukraine, in what one air force official described as the largest airstrike of the war.
The attack damaged a maternity hospital, an apartment complex and a school, with rescue teams continuing to search through the rubble.
Relief efforts continue following yesterday’s Russian attack. Almost 120 cities and villages were affected, and hundreds of civilian goods were damaged.
We would like to thank the state emergency services rescue workers, local government officials, police officers, and everyone involved. pic.twitter.com/bWFq2Wv0CU
— Volodymyr Zelensky / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 30, 2023
“Relief operations continue after yesterday’s Russian attack. Almost 120 cities and villages were affected and hundreds of civilian goods were damaged,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on X on Saturday. .
“A total of 159 people were affected by the Russian attack. Unfortunately, at this moment the death toll stands at 39, and the injured are receiving all necessary assistance,” it added.
In Kiev, where at least 16 people were killed, Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced that January 1 will be a day of mourning.
The United Nations Security Council criticized Russia’s large-scale air raids at a meeting on Friday. However, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzhya said that Russia was “exclusively targeting military infrastructure in Ukraine.”
Fighting on the front lines has largely been bogged down by winter weather, after Ukraine’s summer counterattack failed to make a major breakthrough along the roughly 1,000 km (620 miles) line of engagement.
Continued airstrikes by Russia are also causing concern in Ukraine’s neighbors.
Poland’s Armed Forces said Friday that a Russian missile briefly entered its airspace, but Russian sources said Warsaw had not provided the Kremlin with evidence of the airspace violation.