Thousands of children being evacuated from Russian city of Belgorod

n this photo taken from video released by Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov's Telegram channel on Friday, March 22, 2024,
n this photo taken from video released by Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov's Telegram channel on Friday, March 22, 2024, Copyright AP/Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov telegram channel
Copyright AP/Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov telegram channel
By Euronews with AP
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The planned evacuation of children is one of the biggest publicly announced in the Belgorod region since the war began in February 2022.

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Russia has started evacuating 9,000 children from a border region because it is being shelled continuously by Ukraine, an official said on Friday, reflecting Kyiv’s increasing focus on striking targets behind a front line that has barely shifted in recent months.

The children will be moved from the Belgorod region farther east, away from the Ukraine border, said the region’s governor, Vyacheslev Gladkov.

The announcement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin wants to create a buffer zone to help protect border regions from long-range Ukrainian strikes and cross-border raids more than two years into the war.

Ukraine has increasingly used its long-range firepower to hit oil refineries and depots deep inside Russia and has sought to unsettle the Russian border regions, putting political pressure on Putin.

n this photo taken from video released by Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov's Telegram channel on Friday, March 22, 2024.
n this photo taken from video released by Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov's Telegram channel on Friday, March 22, 2024.AP/Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov telegram channel

In addition, Ukraine-based Russian opponents of Putin and the Kremlin have launched cross-border raids. Putin discussed the cross-border incursions during a meeting on Tuesday with top officials of the Federal Security Service, the FSB.

Civilian areas of Belgorod have been battered in the fighting. According to Gladkov, 16 people died and 98 were injured over the last week alone. On Saturday, he ordered the closure of shopping malls through Monday and schools through Tuesday because of the security situation.

The planned evacuation of children is one of the biggest publicly announced in the Belgorod region since the war began in February 2022. About 1,000 people, including children and their families, were evacuated to other Russian regions last June, and there have been other sporadic reports of evacuations over the past year.

It was unclear whether adults would be accompanying the children under the latest evacuation order. If so, the total number of evacuees could be much higher.

Roughly 600 people were in temporary accommodation on Monday after being evacuated from their homes, Gladkov said.

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