Russia's Belgorod region remains a target of Ukrainian forces even though Moscow claimed on Tuesday it had expelled the fighters who this week have crossed the border and brought the conflict into Russian territory. On the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, the area suffered "a large number of drone attacks," said the governor of Belgorod Oblast.
"The night has not been calm at all. There have been numerous drone attacks. The anti-aircraft defense has taken care of most of them," Viacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram message.
The governor stressed that there had been no injuries, but there had been damage, both in the regional capital, Belgorod, and in the surrounding district and in Borisov. Private homes, vehicles and administrative buildings were affected.
In the Graivoron district, the scene of the raid from Ukraine that kept the region on edge for two days, drones damaged a gas pipeline and a small fire broke out.
According to Gladkov, some of the drones managed to launch their explosive devices at various locations. In one of them, Nóvaya Tavolzhanka, a bomb fell on a private house. But it did not detonate.
The first news about the incursion in Belgorod of saboteurs from Ukraine was given precisely by the governor of the region last Monday.
More than a dozen settlements were attacked at the same time and the Russian authorities proceeded to evacuate nine towns. This Wednesday, more than 550 evacuees were still in temporary accommodation.
An anti-terrorist operation regime was declared in the region and the Russian Army launched an operation to fight against the intruders.
Moscow linked the saboteurs to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. But Kyiv denied any involvement, pointing to two groups of anti-Putin Russian volunteers fighting alongside the Ukrainian army.
These two groups, the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Russian Freedom Legion, claimed on social media to be the perpetrators of the raid.
The Russian Freedom Legion claimed to have taken a small border town, Kozinka, with about a thousand inhabitants. In addition, he had sent units to the city of Graivoron, numbering over 6,000. "We are moving forward. Russia will be free," the group said in a message on Twitter.
After almost two days of fighting, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that, using aviation and artillery, it had defeated the saboteurs and killed "more than 70 terrorists" in addition to four armored personnel carriers. troops and five trucks.
In those two days, 13 civilians were injured, nine of whom are still hospitalized. An 82-year-old woman died of heart failure during evacuation.
Later, Gladkov reported the existence of another fatality in Kozinka.
According to the Kommersant newspaper, in the Belgorod-22 military garrison, ten kilometers from the border with Ukraine, at least two Russian soldiers were killed and four others were wounded.