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Russia Reports First Civilian Casualty in Ukraine War

Updated at 12:40 p.m. on May 12.

Russia reported one civilian casualty in a strike on a town near the border with Ukraine, the first such death since the start of the country’s invasion of its western neighbor.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, said Wednesday that one person had been killed and seven injured after munitions fell on the Russian village of Solokhi, 10 kilometers from the Ukraine border.

He accused “the Ukrainian side” of targeting the village and carrying out the deadly attack.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, ordered a criminal probe into the alleged shelling Thursday.

Writing on Telegram Wednesday, Gladkov said that the incident was “the most difficult situation” that the region had faced since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in late February.

He also said that 17 houses and six cars had been partially destroyed.

Belgorod officials announced last week that shelling had damaged civilian homes in two border villages, but reported no casualties. 

The Belgorod region has reported more than a dozen incidents believed to be linked to Russia’s war in Ukraine over the past two and a half months.

A fire broke out at a Russian military facility on May 1, while an ammunition dump was also set alight on April 27 in the Belgorod region. Russian officials did not publically link the fires to military activity. 

Explosions have also been reported in the border regions of Bryansk and Kursk.

The Kremlin called for additional measures to strengthen security in Russian territories close to Ukraine in light of the recent attacks.

Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the recent string of attacks on Russian territory, including the latest shelling in the Belgorod region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers have adopted a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on the subject of attacks on Russian territory, saying only that fuel and weapons storage fires in Russia were a “natural process.”

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