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Belgorod cancels evening Orthodox Christmas services after attack

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 6, 2024 11:47 PM 2 min read
Evening in the city of Belgorod, Russia on January 5, 2024. (Emil Leegunov/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Church services on the eve of Russian Orthodox Christmas, celebrated on Jan. 7, have been canceled "due to the operational situation," Belgorod Mayor Valentin Demidov announced on Jan. 6.

A Dec. 30 strike on Belgorod, which lies about 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, reportedly killed 25 people and injured over 100.

Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the strike, which came one day after Russia launched a massive aerial attack against Ukraine that killed over 50 people and injured 160.

Several Ukrainian media outlets reported that Ukrainian forces struck military facilities in Belgorod on Dec. 30, citing anonymous sources in Ukraine's special services.

Debris from the used weapons fell in the city center "due to the unprofessional actions of the Russian air defense," according to the sources.

Belgorod Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed on Jan. 5 that the authorities have started moving residents out of Belgorod to towns to the north, further away from the border with Ukraine.

"I see several appeals on social media where people write, 'We are scared, help us get to a safe place.' Of course we will! We have already moved several families," Gladkov claimed.

The Kyiv Independent could not independently verify any of these claims.

French Foreign Ministry on Belgorod strike: Russia ‘bears full responsibility’ for human casualties
“Russia can put an end to this conflict and the human tragedies that accompany it, for which it bears full responsibility. To do this, it must withdraw all of its troops from the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine,” a representative of the French Foreign Ministry said on Jan. 3.

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