At least 19 injured as missile strike causes partial building collapse in Russia’s Belgorod

The aftermath of the building's partial collapse in Belgorod, Russia, 12 May 2024.

The aftermath of the building's partial collapse in Belgorod, Russia, 12 May 2024.

At least 19 people were injured as part of a 10-storey residential building collapsed in the western Russian city of Belgorod on Sunday, the Belgorod region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.

A 40-apartment section of the building collapsed as its residents were being evacuated following damage caused to the building’s roof in an alleged Ukrainian missile strike just before noon on Sunday, Gladkov said.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said that it had opened a criminal case into the Ukrainian missile strike that is believed to have caused the building’s partial collapse, adding that there had been casualties and that forensic experts had been dispatched to the scene to investigate.

Differing accounts of how the building was damaged were given, with Gladkov and the Investigative Committee reporting that a Ukrainian missile had struck the building directly, while Russia’s Defence Ministry said the damage had been caused by debris from a missile downed by Russian air defence systems.

All 19 of those injured, including two children, were receiving medical attention, Gladkov said, as an operation to pull those believed to be trapped under rubble continued.

Figures for the number of people injured and fatalities as a result of the collapse also varied, with the pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Mash reporting that seven people had been killed and 32 injured, while Gladkov said that no fatalities had so far been confirmed.

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said that while 16 people had already been pulled alive from the rubble, three emergency service workers had been injured in a second collapse during the rescue operation. Rescuers were observing “minutes of silence”, the Ministry said, as they attempted to locate those trapped under the rubble using their cries for help.

Rescue operations had to be halted several times as fresh air raid sirens forced rescue workers to seek cover in bomb shelters, the Ministry added.

While Kyiv has made no comment on the alleged attack, Andriy Kovalenko, head of Ukraine’s Centre for Countering Disinformation, accused the Russians of blowing up the building themselves as a “provocation” to “justify further strikes on residential buildings in Ukrainian cities”.

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