(Reuters) – The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said four people were killed on Friday in two separate Ukrainian shelling attacks on towns near the border, while officials in nearby regions reported overnight drone attacks.
Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram that shelling had struck the town of Maslova Pristan, some 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Ukraine’s northern Kharkiv region, and that fragments had struck passing cars.
“Two women were travelling in one of them. They died from their injuries on the spot,” he said.
Gladkov later said two people had been killed and six injured when rockets hit the town of Sobolevka, 125 km to the southeast of the first incident. The victims had been standing outside close to residential buildings, he said.
Sobolevka is 14 km from the border with Ukraine. Russian officials have in recent days reported intensified attacks from northern Ukraine.
Pro-Ukrainian forces have repeatedly shelled the town of Shebekino over the last week, Russian officials said. All road and rail travel in the district had been suspended until June 30, Gladkov said.
More than 2,500 people were being evacuated from the Shebekino area, he said, given that it was not safe to be there.
The governor of the Bryansk region, north of Belgorod, said four homes had been damaged by shelling, while the head of neighbouring Kursk region said some buildings had been damaged in an overnight drone attack.
Long-range drones also hit two towns in the Smolensk region overnight, the local governor there.
Reuters could not independently verify the reported attacks.
UKRAINE LIFTS AIR RAID ALERTS
Russia’s Defence Ministry said its forces had repelled on Thursday three cross-border attacks by what it said were Ukrainian “terrorist formations” into the Belgorod region.
Ukraine denies its military is involved in the incursions and says they are conducted by Russian volunteer fighters.
Ukrainian authorities lifted air raid alerts across most of the nation, and officials in Kyiv said defences appeared to have shot down more than 30 missiles and drones launched in the early hours of Friday.
Russia has mounted around 20 separate missile and dronestrikes against cities since the start of May.
Moscow denies targeting civilians or committing war crimes but its forces have devastated cities and repeatedly hit residential areas.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Gareth Jones, David Ljunggren and Grant McCool)
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