In a devastating turn of events, Moscow has accused Ukraine of carrying out deadly airstrikes on south-west Russia, resulting in 20 people killed and over 100 injured in the city of Belgorod, near the border.
Among the casualties were three children, marking one of the deadliest attacks on Russia since the beginning of the conflict.
Ukrainian security sources insist that the strikes targeted only military infrastructure as a response to Russia’s alleged terrorist attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians.
The attacks, which reportedly utilized various forms of weaponry, including Ukrainian Olkha and Czech-made Vampire rockets, followed Russia’s significant missile bombardment on Ukraine the previous day, described by Kyiv as the largest missile assault of the war.
The Ukrainian security source claimed that more than 70 drones were launched against Russian targets.
The situation escalated further as an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council took place in New York at Russia’s request.
During the meeting, Russia accused Ukraine of a “deliberate, indiscriminate attack against a civilian target,” a claim promptly refuted by Ukraine’s allies.
The UN assistant secretary-general unequivocally condemned the attacks on both sides, emphasizing the violation of international humanitarian law.
Disturbing video footage from one of the strikes showed a pile-up of burning cars and at least one person lying motionless on the road.
The Russian defense ministry accused Kyiv of attempting to distract attention from front-line defeats and provoking further conflict, asserting that the crime would not go unpunished.
As the international community grapples with the unfolding situation, tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to rise, with both sides blaming each other for the escalating violence and civilian casualties.