Russia's Belgorod Oblast under fire after warning of attack on military facilities

Explosions in Belgorod
Explosions in Belgorod

Numerous explosions were heard in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast shortly after regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov announced an air-raid alert, the Baza Telegram channel reported on March 16.

Read also: Air-raid alert and explosions interrupt first day of sham presidential ‘vote’ in Russian Belgorod

It was particularly loud in the administrative center of Belgorod. Damages were reported by witnesses in the nearby village of Rozumne.

The town of Shebekino was also under attack, with a fire seen near the Gofrotara packing plant, according to numerous video and photo posts by locals on social media.

<span class="copyright">Baza</span>

Air defense systems shot down 15 RM-70 Vampire rockets, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Telegram.

Read also: Ukraine hit Kursk and Belgorod oblasts with drones, Tochka-U missiles and Vampire MLRS, Russian Defense Minist

Earlier in the day, pro-Ukrainian Russian volunteers from the Freedom of Russia Legion (FRL) and the Siberian Battalion warned Belgorod residents of a massive attack on military facilities and positions of the Russian forces in the city, urging civilians to take shelter.

"You do not need to become a human shield for Putin's security forces. Take care of yourself and your loved ones," their statement said.

Schools and shopping centers across Belgorod and its suburbs will be closed for several days amid intensified shelling, Gladkov wrote on Telegram in response to the warning.

Read also: Russia awakes to biggest attack on Russian soil since World War II

The pro-Ukrainian Russian volunteer FRL, Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), and Siberian Battalion units announced on March 12 another raid into Russian territory, describing it as an operation to "liberate the Russian Federation from dictatorship."

The RVC claimed to have advanced several tens of kilometers and taken prisoners. The Russian side reported casualties among the Russian army soldiers.

The FRL later announced its control over part of the village of Tiotkino in Kursk Oblast, with the advance ongoing. The ASTRA Telegram channel, citing sources, reported that at least four Russian soldiers were killed, and nine others wounded in massive drone attacks and volunteer raids on March 12.

The RVC called on residents of Belgorod and Kursk oblasts to evacuate immediately on March 14 and announced that it would open fire on military targets in those oblasts in response to Russian shelling of Ukraine.

The FRL said that the raid in Russia would last at least until after the Presidential "elections" scheduled for March 15-17. Their main mission — to reach Moscow.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine