Terrified Russians are panicking that the Ukrainian war could land on their doorsteps in the border city of Belgorod. Residents in Belgorod, southern Russia, just miles from the border with Ukraine, are finding it impossible to ignore the war as they fear it is getting closer.
Russian soldiers and military vehicles emblazoned with the letters Z, V and O have become a common sight.
People living in the city say they are preparing for the worst as Ukrainian troops continue to up their war against Russia.
It comes as TASS news agency reported one person had been killed by Ukrainian shelling in Russia’s Belgorod region.
Denis, who has built a bomb shelter in his backyard and works in a local restaurant, said he was taking precautions.
He told The Guardian: “Nobody expects it to come here.
“But we have to be ready.”
It comes after Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Belgorod, order local authorities to check their bomb shelters, while schools near the border were temporarily closed.
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“The children start running around screaming ‘missiles’ but we tell them it is just thunder.”
In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have retaken territory previously held by Russian forces in the northeastern Kharkiv region.
East and south of there, Russia has concentrated forces for months in Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, to expand territory held by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
British military intelligence said Russia had established a defensive line between the Oskil River and the town of Svatove, protecting one of its few main resupply routes from Belgorod.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian strike on a Russian-controlled village in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine killed seven civilians, including three children, on Monday night.
Russian-installed officials said the strike hit Krasnorichenske, in part of Luhansk region held Russian forces.
Luhansk’s representative to the Joint Centre of Control and Coordination (JCCC) said: “As a result of artillery shelling by Ukraine’s armed forces on the village of Krasnorichenske, seven civilians were killed, including three children – twins, a girl and a boy born in 2021, and a girl born in 2015.”