Sergey Bobok Agence France-Presse Residents of Zmiiv in Ukraine collect debris following Russian strikes in Ukraine.
Stanislav Doshchitsyn – Agence France-Presse to kyiv
At least four people were killed and dozens of others injured in Ukraine in new Russian night strikes, Kiev announced on Monday, at a time when Russia says it wants to intensify its attacks against its neighbor.
For its part, Moscow declared that several hundred residents of Belgorod had been evacuated, a first in nearly two years of conflict for this large city close to Ukraine and recently the target of a series of Ukrainian bombings.
Particularly deadly strikes have increased in recent weeks on both sides of the border.
During Monday's attacks, “45 people were injured and we are aware of four deaths at this time,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, promising a “response” to Russia .
In the center, in Kryvyï Rig, the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelensky, a missile attack caused the death of one person, according to the same source.
Two people also died in the western city of Khmelnytskyi, and missiles killed one in the Kharkiv region, law enforcement said.
They added that five people were injured in the southern town of Zaporizhia, where two buildings were damaged.
Volodymyr Zelensky said that relief operations continued Monday evening in several regions.
The Ukrainian military claimed to have shot down 18 of 51 missiles fired by the Russians at “important infrastructure” or industrial and military buildings.
“A large number of ballistic missiles were launched today,” Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat told Ukrainian television.
“Many say that the rate [of missiles shot down] is not very high,” he added, judging that even if the army preferred to have “a better ratio”, it s It was still a “good result”.
The fact remains that Ukraine is seeing its ammunition stocks decline as the Russian army saturates its anti-aircraft defense, a new strategy from Moscow at a time when Kiev is worried about the erosion of Western military support.
On the Russian side, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov announced that 300 residents of Belgorod had chosen to be “temporarily evacuated” in order to be accommodated in areas further from the border.
On Friday, this official suggested to those wishing to evacuate this city, a target of intensifying Ukrainian bombings.
This unprecedented measure for a large city in Russia goes against the efforts of the Kremlin, which has always wanted to support the idea that the conflict does not directly affect the daily lives and security of Russian citizens.
This strategy, however, was shattered on December 30, when a Ukrainian attack on Belgorod left 25 dead, the heaviest civilian death toll on Russian soil since the start of the offensive launched by Moscow in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
In retaliation, President Vladimir Putin promised an “intensification” of strikes on this neighboring country, just over two months before the Russian presidential election after which his re-election is in no doubt .
According to Mr. Gladkov, “in the last 24 hours,” regional authorities also “received 1,300 requests” to send children from Belgorod to classes “in other regions.”
When the Russian army massively struck several Ukrainian cities at the end of December and at the beginning of the year, causing several dozen deaths and injuries, the Ukrainian forces responded each time, increasing their attacks on Belgorod.
The Ministry of Defense claimed that the Russian military had shot down two Ukrainian drones that were flying in the Bryansk region, which also borders Ukraine.
No casualties or damage have been reported, according to local authorities.
Earlier, the Defense Ministry assured that a Ukrainian S-200 missile was intercepted “over the Belgorod region”.