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Russia Reports Third Civilian Death in Cross-Border Shelling

A resident of a village near the border with Ukraine has died after a “full day” of shelling, the governor of western Russia’s Belgorod region said Friday.

The unidentified woman, who was wounded in attacks on the villages of Zhuravlevka and Nekhoteevka, is the third reported civilian casualty on Russian territory amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine that has killed thousands of Ukrainians and displaced millions.

“We have another tragedy. A woman who was wounded yesterday died of her wounds,” Belgorod region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

Zhuravlevka was shelled for most of Thursday, the governor said.

Gladkov’s account could not be independently verified, but photographs shared on his Telegram messaging app channel showed extensive property damage.

He called on residents to avoid visiting Zhuravlevka and Nekhoteevka, some 30 kilometers north of Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv, until further notice.

The number of attacks on Russian territory has risen since Moscow’s forces pulled back from northern Ukraine after an aborted attempt to seize Kyiv, and successful Ukrainian counterattacks near Kharkiv. 

On Wednesday, shelling in Kharkiv killed nine people and wounded 19, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said on social media, warning residents to evacuate to air raid shelters.

Russia's regional governors reported the first two civilian deaths from cross-border attacks, including an 18-year-old Belgorod village student and a truck driver in the neighboring Kursk region, earlier in May.

Authorities in Russia’s border regions have reported dozens of attacks, including explosions at oil refineries and damage to railroads, since the start of the invasion.

Ukrainian officials have not claimed responsibility for attacks inside Russia, but have also not explicitly denied that Ukrainian forces were involved.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has bolstered its border guard units and set up additional border checkpoints in response to the shelling and artillery strikes, a senior security official said in an interview published Friday.

“The situation remains difficult even now, mainly due to the shelling of Russian border guards and Ukrainian nationalists’ ‘intimidation tactics’ through artillery strikes on border infrastructure and Russian settlements,” said Vladimir Kulishov, head of the FSB’s border guard service.

“Enlarged border guard units on armored vehicles... are guarding the threatened areas,” Kulishov told the the state-owned Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.

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