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2 Russian Soldiers Killed in Border Incursion – Reports

An ambulance in Belgorod. Yevgeny Silantyev / TASS

At least two Russian soldiers were killed in what Moscow called an incursion by a Ukrainian “sabotage” group into southern Russia’s Belgorod region as fighting continued for a second day Tuesday, the Ostorozhno Novosti news outlet reported.

Without naming its sources, the outlet reported that two Russian servicemen were killed and four wounded in Monday’s multiple rocket launcher shelling from Ukrainian territory of a closed military camp known as Belgorod-22.

Belgorod-22 was the site where Ukraine’s military intelligence claimed Russian forces had stored tactical nuclear weapons, which they hastily evacuated during the fighting.

A total of 12 civilians have been wounded as of Tuesday morning, Belgorod region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said, noting that "the situation here continues to be extremely tense."

"Clean-up work is continuing in the affected areas," Gladkov said, adding that residents of nine settlements in the region have "been moved out."

One civilian, an 82-year-old woman, had died while evacuating with her family by bus, Gladkov said.

"Most of the population left the territory," he said. "I hope that our military will complete their task in the nearest future."

The Kremlin on Tuesday expressed "deep concern" over the attack and called for "more efforts" to be taken to prevent future border incidents.

Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal "terror" probe over the attack.

The Belgorod region on Monday introduced for the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 an “anti-terror regime.”

The regime gives special powers to security services and entails the enforcement of a number of restrictions and measures including beefed-up security and communications surveillance. 

Members of the anti-Kremlin Freedom of Russia Legion claimed responsibility for the incursion into Belgorod. 

Kyiv denied involvement. 

In a video released by a Telegram channel claiming to represent the Freedom of Russia Legion, a camouflaged spokesman, surrounded by armed men in fatigues, said: "Russia will be free!" — a slogan frequently used by Russian opposition activists. 

"We want our children to grow up in peace and be free," the spokesman added, with the channel claiming that two settlements including Grayvoron had been attacked. 

Overnight reports suggested that drones attacked two buildings housing the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry offices in Grayvoron. 

Gladkov said only that drones had dropped explosives on two private homes.

AFP contributed reporting.

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