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Russia promises to respond after death of 21 people in strike | War in Ukraine

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Russian soldiers secure the area following what the Russian authorities say there was a Ukrainian military strike in Belgorod, Russia, on December 30, 2023.

Agence France-Presse

Moscow promised on Saturday to respond to a strike blamed on the Ukrainian army which left 21 dead and dozens injured in Belgorod, the deadliest for civilians in Russia since the start of the conflict in February 2022.

This attack came a day after intense bombing in Ukraine, which killed 40 people according to authorities.

The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on Saturday evening that 21 people, including three children, had been killed in the town, and around 110 injured.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov on January 24, 2023. (Archive photo)

Images posted online showed cars on fire, buildings with broken windows and columns of black smoke rising x27;rising to the horizon.

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Ukraine regularly carries out strikes in Russia, particularly in the most close to its territory, but their toll is generally much lower.

Even if Kiev has not yet reacted to these accusations, the Russian Defense Ministry has already assured that the attack will not go unpunished.

Russian forces managed to intercept two missiles and most of the rockets launched against the city, the governor added, which made it possible to avoid infinitely more serious consequences.

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Attacks in Belgorod, Russia, left 21 dead.

However, several rockets and missile debris fell on Belgorod, he said.

We have witnessed the worst consequences of the Ukrainian army's bombings in two years.

A quote from Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region

At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, Moscow on Saturday accused Ukraine of committing a deliberate act of terrorism and ;having used cluster munitions to strike Belgorod.

It was an indiscriminate and deliberate attack against a civilian target, said the #x27;Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vassili Nebenzia, accusing Kiev of having targeted a sports center, an ice rink and a university.

The members of the Security Council have the opportunity to do their duty and objectively assess what happened.

A quote from Vasily Nebenzia, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations

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Cars are set on fire following what Russian authorities say was a Ukrainian military strike in Belgorod, Russia, December 30, 2023.

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky are both due to deliver expected New Year's speeches, following a 2023 marked by a disappointing Kiev counter-offensive and the near-total freeze of the front line.< /p>

For its part, Ukraine was still counting its dead on Saturday, after intense strikes the day before on several cities, including the capital Kiev.

The wave of attacks, one of the most violent since the start of the war almost two years ago, targeted buildings, a maternity ward and even a shopping center, but also industrial and military infrastructures.

Around forty people have died in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Saturday, adding that around a hundred others had were injured.

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Nearly 120 towns and villages were hit by Russian strikes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

In Kiev alone, at least 17 people were killed on Friday, according to the local administration in a city where deadly strikes had become rarer in recent months.

This is a great tragedy for our city, said the head of the military administration of the capital, Serguiï Popko.< /p>

New strikes targeted Ukrainian territory on Saturday, killing three people in the Kherson, Zaporizhia and Cherniguiv regions, according to various local authorities.< /p>

In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, 26 people were injured, according to the latest report from local authorities.

The attorney general said two teenagers and a Briton, who was the security adviser to a team of German journalists, were among the injured.

A hotel, a nursery school, buildings and restaurants were affected, according to the same source.

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According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Moscow fired nearly 160 devices, including cruise missiles and Shahed explosive drones, during Friday's attacks.

The mayor of Kharkiv, Ilhor Terekhov, reported new drone attacks during the night from Saturday to Sunday. There are strikes on several residential buildings in the city. There are fires, he wrote on Telegram.

Friday's strikes drew strong international condemnations, with the UN secretary-general speaking out against appalling attacks.

This closes a difficult year for Ukraine, marked by the failure of its summer counter-offensive and a revival of Moscow's forces.

All the more worrying news for Kiev, while Western aid begins to run out of steam, in Europe as in the United States, raising the risk of the flow drying up of ammunition and funds.

On Saturday, Volodymyr Zelensky launched a new appeal to his allies, assuring that arming Ukraine is a way to protect lives.

Every manifestation of Russian terror proves that we cannot wait to provide assistance to those who fight, he pleaded.

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