Russia has accused Ukraine of firing missiles armed with cluster bombs at residential areas in Belgorod, killing at least three civilians.
“All necessary medical assistance is being provided,” Vyacheslav Gladkov, the Belgorod region governor, told Russian media after touring the alleged attack site. “At the moment, there is information about three people dead.”
Russian media published a video of destroyed houses and another video of an explosion on a residential block as evidence of the attack, but these could not be independently verified.
Belgorod lies just across the border from Kharkiv in northern Ukraine and has been used as a major resupply point for Russian forces fighting both on the Kharkiv frontlines and also the further east in Donbas.
In April, two Ukrainian helicopters blew up a fuel depot in Belgorod in a dawn attack, but the city has not previously been the target of a Ukrainian missile attack.
The Russian Ministry of Defence said its missile defence system had knocked out the three Tochka-U missiles fired from Ukraine, but that the debris hit residential houses.
“Tonight, between 3.00 and 3.30 Moscow time, the Kyiv regime carried out a deliberate strike with Tochka-U ballistic missiles with cluster munitions and Tu-143 Reis drones on residential areas of Belgorod and Kursk, where there are no military facilities,” a spokesman for Russia’s Ministry of Defence said.
The Tochka-U missile is Soviet-manufactured and designed to kill infantry soldiers.
It deploys in a similar way to a cluster bomb by exploding above the ground into hundreds of fragments that kill and maim as many people as possible.
In April, Russian forces fired a Tochka-U missile at a train station in Kramatorsk, Donbas, crowded with refugees.
At least 59 people were killed and 110 injured. Ukraine has begged its western allies to supply it with more artillery pieces for its battles in Donbas.
Ukraine has not commented on these Russian accusations. but did claim responsibility, for a missile attack on a Russian army base near the city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine.
Telegraph Media Group Limited