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Russia says several western regions hit by shelling, drones in attacks from Ukraine

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Several regions in western Russia were hit by shelling and drones on Friday in overnight attacks from Ukraine, but no one was injured, local officials said in posts on the Telegram messaging app.

The governor of Russia’s western Bryansk region said Ukrainian forces had shelled two villages close to the Ukrainian border, while the governor of the neighboring 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 said, while the head of Russia’s Kaluga region said a blast was reported in a forest.

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There were no reports of any injuries.

Reuters could not immediately verify the reported attacks.

Russian officials have in recent days reported intensified attacks from northern Ukraine. The defense ministry said its forces had repelled three cross-border attacks by what it said were Ukrainian “terrorist formations” into the Belgorod region on Thursday, the first such incursion.

Ukraine denies its military is involved in the incursions and says they are conducted by Russian volunteer fighters.

Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Friday at least one incident of shelling had been reported overnight in the Shebekino district, and over 2,500 people were being evacuated from the area.

Ukrainian authorities on Friday lifted air raid alerts across most of the nation, and officials in the capital Kyiv said defenses appeared to have shot down more than 30 missiles and drones fired by Russia.

Moscow has launched around 20 separate missile and drone strikes against Ukrainian cities since the start of May.

Russia denies targeting civilians or committing war crimes but its forces have devastated Ukrainian cities and repeatedly hit residential areas.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 in what President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” to “denazify” the country, protect Russian speakers and defend its borders from he said were aggressive Western ambitions.

Kyiv and its Western allies accuse Putin of barbaric tactics and an imperialist-style land grab in Ukraine. The war has killed tens of thousands and sent millions fleeing abroad.

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