the One Russian City That’s a “War Zone”



SUBSCRIBER+ EXCLUSIVE REPORTING — Drones set fire to a Russian refinery in St. Petersburg. A railway bridge explodes in Siberia. Daily funerals are held in nearly all corners of the country. Russians have seen glimpses of the war against Ukraine, but no place in Russia has felt the heat of war as intensely as Belgorod, a city of some 350,000 people just 25 miles from the internationally recognized border with Ukraine. 

For the last several weeks, air raid sirens have rung out almost daily in Belgorod – often several times a day – as local authorities warn of Ukrainian missile and drone attacks. Those attacks have killed dozens of people and wounded several hundred more, and regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said Saturday that 5,000 children have been evacuated from Belgorod as a result of the attacks. Schools and shopping malls closed last month to avoid mass casualties, and Gladkov businesses would be allowed to re-open only when “staff are trained in first aid.” On Friday, a Ukrainian drone crashed into an apartment building in Belgorod, killing a man and wounding two others.

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