Russia alleges that its border regions have been subjected to artillery and mortar fire by Ukraine

In Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, it has been reported that Russia’s southern Belgorod region, which shares a border with Ukraine, experienced an attack on Friday.

The attack involved Ukrainian artillery fire, mortar shells, and drones. This occurred shortly after two drones targeted a Russian city in an area adjacent to the annexed Crimea Peninsula.

In retaliation, Moscow’s forces targeted a building in Dnipro, a city in central Ukraine, where psychology and veterinary clinics were located. This attack resulted in the death of two individuals and injured 30 others, including two children, according to Ukrainian officials. A video released by regional Governor Serhiy Lysak depicted a three-story building engulfed in flames, with only remnants of a wall remaining, while firefighters battled to extinguish the fire.

Additionally, a Russian S-300 missile struck a dam in the Karlivka district of Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine, posing a threat of flooding to nearby settlements.

In the town of Graivoron, situated approximately 4 miles from the Ukrainian border within Russia’s Belgorod region, sustained fire for several hours, resulting in damage to four houses, a store, a car, a gas pipeline, and a power line, as reported by Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. Closer to the border, a recreation center, a shop, and an unoccupied house in the village of Glotovo were also damaged. In Novaya Tavolzhanka, located nearby, a woman sustained injuries from the shelling, according to Gladkov.

Recently, the Belgorod region experienced one of the most significant cross-border attacks from Ukraine since the conflict began 15 months ago. The details of the raid remain unclear, with Russia attributing blame to the Ukrainian armed forces, while two Russian groups claimed responsibility, with the intention of ousting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reports from officials in Krasnodar, a southern Russian city bordering Crimea, stated that two drones targeted the region, resulting in explosions that punctured a roof and shattered windows in an apartment building. Krasnodar regional Governor Veniamin Kondratyev communicated via Telegram that there were no casualties, some buildings were damaged, but essential infrastructure remained intact.

Drone attacks on Russian border regions have been occurring regularly since the invasion commenced in February 2022, with an increase in attacks observed last month. Earlier this month, an oil refinery in Krasnodar was targeted by drones on two consecutive days.

During a meeting in Estonia, German and Baltic leaders sought to downplay concerns about the conflict spilling over into Russia.

“Russia attacked Ukraine, and so Ukraine can defend itself,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “It is clear that the weapons we have delivered will only be used on Ukrainian territory.”

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas noted that “Ukraine does not have any wish to invade Russia,” and Lithuanian Prime Minster Ingrida Simonyte added: “I’m somewhat puzzled by the worry of Russia, because Russia is at war — so it’s quite strange to think that the war can only be in that other territory that you invaded.”

On Thursday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a video that appeared to depict a marine drone heading towards Russia’s Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship in the Black Sea. However, the video did not show the drone actually striking the ship.

This video release followed reports from Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday, claiming that Ukraine had launched an unsuccessful attack on the Ivan Khurs using three unmanned speedboats, all of which were destroyed before reaching the ship. Moscow shared a video allegedly showing the destruction of one of the marine drones.

According to the Ukrainian president’s office, at least two civilians were killed and three others wounded in Russian attacks on Ukraine within the previous 24 hours.

Late on Friday, officials in the Russian-held sector of Donetsk reported two missile strikes on the city of Mariupol, which had previously suffered significant damage during a prolonged siege early in the conflict.

Russia’s state news agency Tass, citing an unnamed official, mentioned that the missiles used were long-range Storm Shadows, which had been delivered to Ukraine by the United Kingdom earlier this month.

In Moscow, Chinese special envoy Li Hui held a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, where they discussed “the situation around Ukraine and prospects for resolving the conflict,” as stated by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The statement did not disclose the details of Li’s remarks or proposals.

Li had visited Kyiv earlier in the month. The Chinese government, led by Xi Jinping, claims to maintain neutrality and aims to serve as a mediator in the conflict but has shown political support for Moscow. In February, Beijing released a proposed peace plan, which was largely dismissed by Ukraine’s allies who insisted on Russian President Vladimir Putin first withdrawing his forces.