Under attack by anti-Kremlin militias of Russian citizens, Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine plans to evacuate 9,000 children following an uptick in bombardment, the region’s governor said Tuesday, March 19.

The Belgorod Regional Governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, told a meeting of ruling United Russia party members: “We are evacuating a large number of villages, and now we are planning to evacuate about 9,000 children because of the shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces.”

While Gladkov attributed the “shelling” to the “Ukrainian armed forces,” the attacks were likely made by anti-Kremlin militias of Russian citizens with unspecified weapons.

Gladkov continued: “I am proud that the residents of the region did not succumb to the difficult situation and that many more people came to the polling stations than ever before,” he said.

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Kremlin authorities claim that missile and drone attacks in the region have killed 16 people since last week. Moscow also says the shelling and bombardment intensified in the run-up to elections poised to keep President Vladimir Putin in power until 2030.

In addition to these attacks, anti-Kremlin militias claimed to have stormed Russia’s border regions last week in a series of brazen raids.

The attacks have drawn anger from Moscow, which has been attempting to downplay the impacts of its offensive in Ukraine on the Russian population.

Many residents of Russia’s Belgorod region are evacuating as evidenced by intercepted telephone conversations released by The Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) on Telegram.

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LSR published intercepted conversations between residents discussing the situation in the cities of Grayvoron and Belgorod, which are nearly 80 kilometers apart.

A woman claimed that many people are leaving Belgorod. In response, a man said, “For our respected president, we need to show that we are united, and you can’t show that people are going somewhere.”

The woman replied that Russian media were producing reports to demonstrate that the situation in the region did not frighten residents and did not create obstacles for them to vote in the Russian presidential elections.

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“They [in the Russian media] make reports specifically with certain people, or they specifically persuade them, or maybe just for stories they take people who say, ‘They can’t break us, we’re going to vote, and that [the situation in the region] is all to intimidate us, and we’re not timid,’” the woman said.

Another person mentioned his fellow group member, who works in the Russian Federal Drug Control Service.

“Yesterday [he] recorded stories saying he was on duty in Grayvoron. They [the Russian authorities] gathered everyone who could be gathered, to either help with the evacuation or to [perform] some other tasks,” he said.

“Even non-profile law enforcement officers [with specialization in fields, such as drug enforcement] are already involved in this [the evacuation]. Both the Federal Security Service and the Investigative Committee,” he added.

The man then described the situation in Belgorod as “loud.”

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“I’ve been here for two days, and of course, the streets are much less crowded, and a lot of closed shops... Closed deliveries, closed pizzerias, everything is closed,” he said.

In addition, LSR released another intercepted telephone conversation in which a Russian woman said, “I’m in Belgorod, I’ll probably think about going to Stary Oskol. Everyone is being taken there for temporary accommodation.”

The Legion once again called on the residents of Belgorod to leave the city on the evening of Monday, March 18.

“Belgorod, urgent! We call on the residents of the city to immediately leave Belgorod or find a safe shelter due to the threat of rocket and artillery fire!” the statement read.

The Russian volunteers said they were striking only military targets, but due to the location of the Russian military facilities in the residential sector, “civilians may suffer.”

In a press conference after his re-election victory, Putin said he was considering creating a buffer or “sanitary zone” in Ukrainian territory adjoining Belgorod that has been captured by his troops to prevent further attacks.

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Comments ( 1)

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GregC
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Ukraine needs to create buffer zones within Russia, say 50 miles wide all along their border to stop Russian attacks into Ukriane. take these lands and make them Ukrainian.

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