Ukraine strikes Belgorod as Zelenskyy warns Russia ‘will answer’ for lives lost


Following Russia’s recent wave of intense aerial attacks, President Zelenskyy thanked international allies who have provided air defence capabilities to Ukraine.

Ukraine has launched missile strikes of its own against targets inside Russia.

Russia said on Wednesday that it had shot down 12 missiles fired at one of its southern regions bordering Ukraine, as Kyiv’s forces seek to embarrass the Kremlin and puncture President Vladimir Putin’s argument that life is going on as normal despite the 22-month war.

The situation in the border city of Belgorod, which came under two rounds of shelling on Wednesday morning, “remains tense,” said regional Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov, writing on Telegram.

“Air defence systems worked,” he said, promising more details about possible damage after inspecting the area later in the day, part of a New Year’s holiday week in Russia.

Ukraine fired two Tochka-U missiles and seven rockets at the region late Tuesday, followed by six Tochka-U missiles and six Vilkha rockets on Wednesday, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

The Russian side of the frontier has come under increasingly frequent attack in recent days. Kyiv’s troops have recently aimed at Belgorod’s regional capital, which is about 100 kilometres north of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Belgorod, with a population of about 340,000, is the biggest Russian city near the border. It can be reached by relatively simple and movable weapons such as multiple rocket launchers.

On Saturday, shelling directed at Belgorod killed 25 people, including five children, in one of the deadliest strikes on Russian soil since Moscow’s full-scale invasion. Another civilian was killed on Tuesday.

The attacks come after a major escalation in Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine’s largest cities, with both Kyiv and Kharkiv facingRussian hypersonic ballistic missile attacks in the past week.

Officials said the assaults killed at least five people and injured almost 100, as the war approached its two-year milestone and the Kremlin’s forces stepped up their winter bombardment of urban areas.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko arrived on Tuesday morning in the Solomensky district of the capital to see the damage caused by the Russian air strike.

He condemned the bombing as “another brutal attack on our city”, and described the situation as “extremely difficult.”

Zelenskyy on Tuesday recorded a short message in response to another night of heavy Russian strikes, saying that Russia “will answer” for the lives lost.

He went on to thank first responders and international allies that have provided air defence capabilities to Ukraine, which Zelenskyy said “have saved hundreds of lives at least.”

“I thank all those around the world who are helping: Patriots, IRIS, NASAMS, each of these systems has saved hundreds of lives at least. And for every life lost, Russia will answer. Glory to Ukraine,” he said.

As the uptick in attacks continues, NATO has announced it will help to buy up to 1,000 Patriot missiles so that allies can better protect their territory.__Courtesy EuroNews