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Russia to Evacuate 9K Children From Belgorod Region Amid Attacks

A Belgorod region home destroyed in Ukrainian shelling. Vyacheslav Gladkov / Telegram

Authorities in western Russia’s Belgorod region announced Tuesday that they will evacuate 9,000 children to other regions in the country amid an increasing number of attacks from Ukraine.

Belgorod region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said 16 civilians were killed and 98 others injured in cross-border shelling over the past week, during which Russians went to the polls for the March 15-17 presidential election.

“We’re planning to move out about 9,000 children from Belgorod [city and three neighboring districts],” Gladkov said at an event for the ruling United Russia party, according to the state news agency TASS.

He said the first group of 1,200 children will be evacuated on March 22 to the central regions of Penza, Tambov and Kaluga.

Russia’s Interior Ministry said in January that it had helped evacuate some 2,800 children from the Belgorod region.

President Vladimir Putin said in his election victory speech on Sunday that he was considering building a “buffer zone” inside Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, which borders the Belgorod region, to prevent further cross-border attacks.

Ukraine’s presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak slammed the comments as a sign that Putin was seeking to escalate the war.

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