Russia-Ukraine conflict: Massive shelling, drone strikes injure 4 in Belgorod

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Massive shelling, drone strikes injure 4 in Belgorod
Image source: Reuters

Moscow, Russia: Russia's war in Ukraine reverberated dramatically back onto its own territory on Wednesday, with a "massive" shelling in Belgorod injuring four people and preliminary information indicating a drone crashed and ignited a fire at an oil refinery farther south, CNN reported.

According to the governor of Shebekino, a settlement in the border district of Belgorod, eight apartment buildings, four homes, a school and two administrative buildings were damaged during the shelling, as the oblast becomes a hotbed of wandering violence.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia's Belgorod region, said there was more shelling of a border area later Wednesday, which he blamed on Ukrainian forces.

"The situation in Shebekino is not getting better. There is shelling on Shebekino, there is a fire at one of the industrial enterprises," Gladkov said in a live broadcast, as per CNN.

A day before (Tuesday), Gladkov said one person was killed and two were injured in an attack on a temporary accommodation centre.

In the early hours of Wednesday, a drone crashed into the Ilsky oil refinery in the Krasnodar area, east of the occupied territory of Crimea, sparking a fire, according to local officials. The fire was quickly extinguished.

The incidents occurred just one day after Russia blamed Ukraine for a drone attack on Moscow. The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed in a statement that all eight aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles launched from the Russian capital were destroyed.

Kyiv has yet to comment on the drone attack or the occurrences in Belgorod and Krasnodar on Wednesday. In general, the Ukrainian government neither confirms or denies strikes inside Russian territory.

The series of events following last week's entry on Belgorod by anti-Putin Russians fighting alongside the Ukrainian military marks a new chapter in a conflict that is rapidly affecting Russian citizens, 15 months after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine, according to CNN.

On Wednesday, strikes were launched on Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine. The acting head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic reported on Telegram that five persons were killed and 19 were injured in Ukrainian bombardment of the town of Karpaty in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian province of Luhansk.

A top Russian-appointed official in Zaporizhzhia also reported a number of explosions in Polohy, a Russian-held town near the frontlines that many analysts predict to be targeted in an anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive.

"It's loud in Polohy. A series of explosions is heard in town." said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Russian-formed council of Zaporizhzhia's civil-military administration, on Telegram.

The incidents came as Ukraine prepares for a much-anticipated counter-offensive against Russian forces, and come on the heels of Moscow's days-long missile assault of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

Russia appeared to reverse tactics on Monday, striking Kyiv with rockets and missiles during the day, hours after launching a fresh wave of strikes overnight, CNN reported.