Schools and shopping centres close in Russia’s Belgorod region as Ukrainian attacks intensify

Photo: Vyacheslav Gladkov

Photo: Vyacheslav Gladkov

Schools and shopping centres in Russia’s western Belgorod region are to remain closed over the coming days amid increasing Ukrainian attacks on the area, the region’s governor Vyacheslav Gladkov announced on Saturday.

In a video message posted to his Telegram channel, Gladkov said that, “due to the current situation”, shopping centres in the city of Belgorod and the surrounding district would be closed on Sunday and Monday, while schools and colleges across the region as a whole would have “days off” with no in-person or distance learning to be offered on Monday and Tuesday.

Gladkov added that universities had also been given recommendations to remain closed into the start of next week and called on parents not to send their children to kindergartens where possible, saying that childcare provision would only be available for children of workers in “critical professions”.

Schools and colleges across the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, had been closed since Wednesday, with Gladkov announcing on Tuesday evening that they would instead have “self-study days” until the end of the week and that kindergartens would only operate in a limited capacity.

Saturday’s announcement comes in the wake of increasingly frequent attacks on the region in recent weeks, with two people killed and three injured in a Ukrainian missile strike on the city of Belgorod on Saturday morning.

On Friday, Russia’s Defence Ministry announced it had “thwarted” an attempt by a “Ukrainian sabotage group of militants” to enter the region on Thursday. The Russian Volunteer Corps, a unit of Russian volunteers fighting alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces, called the Defence Ministry’s statement “yet another lie” on Saturday, saying that it continued to engage the Russian army in the Belgorod and Kursk regions.

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