Around 9,000 children to be evacuated from Russia’s Belgorod due to Ukraine’s attacks

Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine plans to evacuate 9,000 children following an uptick in deadly Ukrainian shelling, the region’s governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said Tuesday.

Kyiv’s attacks on the territory have killed 16 people since last week, with shelling intensifying in the run up to elections poised to keep President Vladimir Putin in power until 2030, authorities say.

“We are evacuating a large number of villages, and now we are planning to evacuate about 9,000 children because of the shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces,” Gladkov told a meeting of ruling party members.

“I am proud that the residents of the region did not succumb to the difficult situation and that many more people came to the polling stations than ever before,” he said.

The attacks have drawn anger from the Kremlin, which has been keen to downplay the impacts of its offensive in Ukraine on the Russian population.

In addition to the shelling, pro-Ukrainian militias claimed to have stormed Russia’s border regions last week in a series of brazen raids.

In a press conference after his re-election victory, Putin said he was considering creating a buffer or “sanitary zone” in Ukrainian territory adjoining Belgorod that has been captured by his troops to prevent further attacks.

“I do not rule out that, bearing in mind the tragic events taking place today, we will be forced at some point, when we deem it appropriate, to create a certain ‘sanitary zone’ on today’s territories subordinate to the Kyiv regime,” Putin said.

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