It has almost become everyday life in the Ukrainian capital. A new wave of drones hit Kiev early Friday, without causing casualties, according to its mayor. "Explosions in Kiev, new wave of drones during an air alert throughout the country from 3:23 to 4:23 local time (from 2:23 to 3:23 French time), no casualties have been reported at this stage," Vitali Klitschko announced on Telegram.
"Last night, the enemy used 15 cruise missiles (type to be specified) and 18 Iranian Shahed attack drones for strikes - all these air targets were destroyed by our defenders," the Ukrainian army said in a statement on Facebook on Friday morning. During the day of Thursday, Russia had already "launched 12 missile strikes using ten Iskander type ballistic and cruise missiles on Kiev (destroyed by our defenders) and two S-300 anti-aircraft guided missiles on Kharkiv," she said.
Fighting going on in Chebekino?
On Thursday, the Russian authorities claimed that Ukrainian forces had tried to "invade" the border region of Belgorod and carried out heavy strikes that injured a dozen people.
"Up to two companies of motorized infantry reinforced by tanks," tried to "invade Russian territory" Thursday around 3 a.m. (2 a.m. French time), the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that "up to 70" armed men "took part in the attack."
The assault was preceded by the "bombing of civilian facilities", then "three attacks carried out by Ukrainian terrorist groups were repulsed" by the Russian military, supported by the air force which carried out 11 strikes and artillery which carried out 79, he continued. "In total, more than 50 Ukrainian terrorists, four armored fighting vehicles, a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher vehicle, a pickup truck were eliminated," he said in the evening.
A group calling itself the "Russian Volunteer Corps," which claims to be made up of Russian fighters supporting Kiev and claimed a role in the incursion into Belgorod last week, said Thursday afternoon that it was fighting on Russian territory near Chebekino. It was impossible to independently verify these claims, but the governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on Telegram that Ukrainian "uninterrupted strikes" targeted her, including the highly destructive Grad multiple rocket launcher, damaging several buildings and injuring twelve others.
Ukrainian drones near Kursk
He also reported that the downing of a drone on the town of Belgorod itself had injured "two people" and that the village of Novopetrovka had also been hit by strikes in which two teachers of a local school were wounded.
Faced with this situation, the inhabitants of the bombed areas flee and are welcomed in temporary reception centres. "The largest municipal temporary accommodation centre is gradually filling up, so all arrivals from Chebekino are sent in an organized way to other unoccupied centres," Gladkov said.
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The situation in the Belgorod region, subject to these strikes and clashes, is the most serious described in Russia since February 2022. And this at a time when Ukraine says it has been preparing for months a counter-offensive of magnitude.
On Wednesday, Russian authorities had already begun evacuating children from particularly affected areas in this region. Moscow suffered an unprecedented drone attack on Tuesday, which left two people lightly injured and minor damage, according to authorities.
Early Friday, several Ukrainian drones were shot down by Russian air defenses near Kursk, a town near the border with Ukraine, according to a post by the region's governor, Roman Starovoyt, on Telegram, who asked residents to "remain calm."