Belgorod continues to feel reality of war as building collapse kills 15 and injures 27

Photo: Vyacheslav Gladkov

Photo: Vyacheslav Gladkov

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry announced on Monday that 15 people were killed when part of an apartment block collapsed in the aftermath of a missile strike on the western Russian city of Belgorod on Sunday.

The ministry also said that 17 people had been pulled from under the rubble by emergency workers, adding that the search and rescue operation at the site had now been concluded.

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said that some 27 people had been injured, six of whom had been hospitalised, after a 40-apartment section of the building collapsed just before noon on Sunday.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said that a Ukrainian Tochka U missile had hit “a residential area” of Belgorod after it was shot down by the city’s air defence on Sunday. The statement contradicted reports by Russia’s Investigative Committee, the law enforcement agency that investigates serious crimes, which said the missile had hit the apartment block directly.

Security footage posted by Russian Telegram channels on Sunday shows an explosion in the lower section of the apartment block and the subsequent collapse.

Three more people were killed in other air strikes on Belgorod on Sunday evening, Gladkov said.

Due to its location near Russia’s border with Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Belgorod has come under increased shelling by Ukraine in recent months. Last week Russian troops reportedly went on the offensive in the Kharkiv region, in line with Vladimir Putin’s previous plans to create a “buffer zone” inside Ukrainian territory to deter attacks on neighbouring Russian regions.

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