FIREFIGHTERS try to douse the flames after a car caught fire following Ukraine’s attack on the Russian city of Belgorod.—Reuters
FIREFIGHTERS try to douse the flames after a car caught fire following Ukraine’s attack on the Russian city of Belgorod.—Reuters

MOSCOW: Russia said on Saturday that a Ukrainian strike killed at least 14 people and injured 108 in the city of Belgorod, a day after Russian strikes killed dozens in Ukraine.

Belgorod lies about 30 kilometres from the border with Ukraine and has been repeatedly targeted by what Russia says is indiscriminate shelling by Kyiv’s forces.

Unverified footage showed debris strewn across the street and smoke billowing from burnt-out cars in the city’s centre, while a large blast can be heard in dashcam footage posted on social media.

“According to updated information, 12 adults and two children were killed in Belgorod. Another 108 people, including 15 children, were injured,” Russia’s emergencies ministry said. President Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the incident, the Kremlin said, while the Russian defence ministry warned the attack would “not go unpunished”.

Kremlin seeks UN Security Council meeting after attacks

Russia requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss what it said was a deadly Ukrainian strike on the city of Belgorod. “We have requested a meeting of the Security Council on Belgorod for 15.00 New York time today, 30 December,” Moscow’s deputy permanent representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said.

The attack came as rescuers in Ukraine continued to search through rubble after Russian strikes killed at least 39 people the day before, in one of the fiercest attacks since the early days of the conflict.

Schools, a maternity hospital, shopping arcades and blocks of flats were all among the buildings hit in Friday’s barrage, which triggered international condemnation.

Ukraine’s military estimated Russia had launched 158 missiles and drones on Ukraine and 114 of them had been destroyed.

Air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said that this was a “record number” of missiles and “the most massive missile attack” of the conflict, excluding the early days of constant bombardment. “Work is still underway to eliminate the consequences of yesterday’s Russian attack,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

January 1 will be declared a day of mourning in the capital Kyiv, where at least 16 people were killed, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Russia’s army said it had “carried out 50 group strikes and one massive strike” on military facilities in Ukraine over the past week, adding that “all targets were hit”.

The United Nations condemned the attacks and said they must stop “immediately”.

Poland reported that a Russian missile briefly passed through its airspace.

“Everything indicates that a Russian missile entered Polish airspace… It also left,” said General Wieslaw Kukula, chief of the general staff of the Polish armed forces.

After speaking to Polish President Andrzej Duda, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance “stands in solidarity” with Poland, adding: “Nato remains vigilant.” In the face of sustained Russian assaults, Ukraine is urging Western allies to maintain military support. Ukraine presidential aide Andriy Yermak said Kyiv needed “more support and strength to stop this terror”.

US President Joe Biden called on Congress to overcome its division to approve new aid for Ukraine, after Washington released its final package of weaponry under existing agreements still to be renewed.

“Unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defence systems Ukraine needs to protect its people,” Biden said.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...
Budget and politics
Updated 14 Jun, 2024

Budget and politics

PML-N, scared of taking bold steps lest it loses whatever little public support it has, has left its traditional support — traders — virtually untouched.
New talks?
14 Jun, 2024

New talks?

WILL this prove another false start, or may we expect a more sincere effort this time? Reference is made to the...
A non-starter
14 Jun, 2024

A non-starter

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza...