Ukraine strikes Russia’s Belgorod, at least five killed

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Five people including a child were killed in a Ukrainian missile attack on Thursday on Russia’s southern city of Belgorod, Russian officials said.

Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on social media that 18 other people were wounded, including five children.

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The governor of the neighboring Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, called the attack “a new crime of the Ukrainian Nazis” - language typical of the way that Russian officials refer to Ukraine in order to justify their invasion.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Starovoit said a shopping mall, an outdoor sports facility and residential areas were hit. He did not provide an official death toll.

“The enemy is deliberately hitting a cluster of civilians,” he said.

A correspondent from the defense ministry-owned Zvezda television channel said that six people had been killed in the vicinity of the Magnit shopping center. The news outlet Mash put the total death toll at nine.

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Video and photographs posted to social media showed a building sporting the Magnit logo with its nearly all its windows shattered, as well as blown-out windows of apartment complexes.

Video published by Zvezda showed emergency workers running to aid injured people at an outdoor sports complex.

Belgorod is the nearest major Russian city to the border with Ukraine, and the city and surrounding region have come under frequent attack in the course of the war. Russian authorities said 25 civilians were killed in the biggest of these at the end of December.

The Russian defense ministry said its air defense systems had shot down 14 Ukrainian missiles over the Belgorod region. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.

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