Politics

Russia ‘Evacuates Thousands of Children’ From Counter-Attack Areas

Associated Press — A Russian border region plans to evacuate about 9,000 children from the area because it is being continuously shelled from the Ukrainian side, an official said Tuesday. Kyiv´s forces have increasingly been striking at targets behind the front line that has changed little after more than two years of war.

The children are to be moved further east, away from the Ukraine border, the governor of Russia´s Belgorod border region, Vyacheslev Gladkov, said.

A view taken on March 17, 2024 shows a damaged kindergarten following a missile strike in Belgorod. A strike on March 17, 2024 on the Russian region of Belgorod that borders Ukraine killed one person and injured 11, the regional governor said. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

The announcement came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin wants to create a buffer zone to help protect border regions from long-range Ukrainian strikes and cross-border raids.

Ukraine has increasingly used its long-range firepower to hit oil refineries and depots deep inside Russia and has sought to unsettle the Russian border regions, putting political pressure on Putin.

In addition, Ukraine-based Russian opponents of Putin and the Kremlin have launched cross-border raids.

Putin discussed those incursions at a meeting Tuesday with top officials of the Federal Security Service, the FSB.

A view taken on March 17, 2024 shows a damaged apartment building following a missile strike in Belgorod. A strike on March 17, 2024 on the Russian region of Belgorod that borders Ukraine killed one person and injured 11, the regional governor said. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

Three people were wounded in an attack Tuesday from Ukraine on the Belgorod region, Gladkov said, including a 14-year-old who had part of a limb amputated. His mother was also seriously hurt in the attack, he said.

The previous day, four members of the same family died in an attack on the Belgorod village of Nikolskoe, according to Gladkov. A grandmother, mother, her partner and 17-year-old son were killed after a missile struck their house, he said.

It has not been possible to independently verify either side´s battlefield claims.

Two Ukrainian drones were shot down over Belgorod and another over the neighboring Voronezh region overnight, the Russian defense ministry said. It gave no details of any damage or injuries.

BELGOROD, RUSSIA – MARCH 17: A view of damaged houses after Ukrainian shelling hits Belgorod, Russia on March 17, 2024. At least two civilians were killed and 19 injured in Ukrainian shelling of the Belgorod region, its governor said Saturday. There were also drone attacks that destroyed several vehicles and residential houses. (Photo by Emil Leegunov/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Russia used S-300 missiles to attack the city of Selydove in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine overnight. Four people were wounded and houses and cars were damaged, the regional prosecutor´s office said.

On Monday, Russian attacks in the Donetsk region killed one person and wounded another, according to Vadym Filashkin, the regional governor.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukraine´s Western partners on Tuesday to quickly supply more air defense systems and illustrated the scale of the challenge Kyiv’s forces face. He said Russia has so far this month used 130 missiles of various types, over 320 Shahed drones and nearly 900 guided air bombs to target various regions of Ukraine.

Ukraine has ramped up its own defense industry and plans to reach levels unseen since the country´s 1991 independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to Zelenskyy, but it still relies heavily on Western support, which in recent months has waned.



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