An attack has struck a shopping mall in the Russian city of Belgorod, Russian sources reported.

Pictures circulating on social media show a damaged building with broken walls and windows and a video with air sirens in the background, presumably prior to the explosions.

A video depicting the moment the shopping mall was hit has also been published online.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed it shot down 14 rockets Ukraine launched using the RM-70 “Vampire” multiple-launch rocket system at the time of the incident.

According to Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, authorities are trying to “[clarify] information about the consequences on the ground.”

Gladkov said 5 were killed and 18 were injured based on preliminary data.

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“According to preliminary data, 5 people were killed in Belgorod, including one child, another 18 people were injured, 5 of which were children. Ambulance crews transport victims to medical facilities. All necessary assistance is provided,” said Gladkov in a Telegram announcement.

Russian news outlet Mash reported 6 dead and 10 more injured, while 112, a local Telegram channel, reported 3 dead and another 3 injured.

However, it is not known if the numbers referred to the shopping mall alone or included casualties from other sites.

Ukraine has not commented on the alleged strike at the time of writing.

Valentina, a vendor at a nearby store told the RIA news agency she was weighing cheese when she heard "booms", and told her customers to take cover.

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"They crouched down. I said run away. We ran. But where to run to, it's a building. We sat down in the corner," she added.

Authorities began evacuating some residents from the city last month after officials said a Ukrainian attack in late December had killed 25 people.

Hundreds of people including around 400 children have already left, in Russia's biggest evacuation since it launched full-scale hostilities against Ukraine in February 2022.

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Belgorod, situated merely 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Ukrainian border, has felt the effects of the war as the hostilities in Ukraine have spilled into mainland Russia.

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