Russia claims that the Kharkiv attacks were in retaliation to Ukraine’s Belgorod assault

Dec 31 (Reuters). – Russia said on Sunday that it had attacked military facilities overnight in Kharkiv, Ukraine. This included a hotel which housed military commanders and ‘foreign mercenaries’ in response to Ukraine’s strike on Belgorod on the previous day.

Kharkiv officials said that at least had hit Ukraine’s second largest city, injuring 28 people, damaging residential buildings, hospitals and medical facilities.

According to the Russian statement, the attack was on the former Kharkiv Palace Hotel and the Kharkiv Security Service headquarters.

The report said that “foreign militants and mercenaries” who were preparing cross-border raids, as well as military and intelligence officers engaged in Ukraine’s assault on Belgorod, had also been killed.

Vyacheslav gladkov, the governor of Belgorod, a region bordering the northern Ukraine, announced that the death toll in Saturday’s Ukrainian rocket attacks on the regional capital has risen to 24.

In a Telegram post, he stated that there were 108 injured and 37 apartment buildings damaged.

In the hours following the Belgorod attack, Kyiv did not make an official statement and Reuters could not independently verify the Russian accounts.

Belgorod, like other Russian border areas, has been subjected to shellings and drone attacks throughout the year. The authorities blame Ukraine for these attacks, but none were on this scale before.

Both sides deny that civilians were targeted in the war Russia started against its neighbor in February 2022. According to the United Nations, more than 10,000 civilians were killed in Ukraine as well as nearly 60 inside Russia.

Unidentified sources, cited by RBC-Ukraine, said that Ukrainian forces fired on military targets in Belgorod as a response to the massive  cities and infrastructure in Ukraine the day before.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on the firing of missiles across the border by Ukraine from its Kharkiv region.

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