Russians in border city close to Ukraine find no place to stay

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The people in Belgorod have been attacked by Ukraine in the past, but the attack on Saturday was the worst one since the war started.

Twenty-five people died and over 100 others were injured in a large Russian city near Ukraine.

The Ukrainian missile attacks happened one day after Russia’s biggest air attack in the war, which killed more than 40 people.

This week, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia attacked Ukraine with 500 missiles and drones in just five days.

Ukraine will be punished for targeting Belgorod, said President Vladimir Putin. The people who live in the city say that the government is not doing enough to keep them safe.

Local people told Russian media that they heard the air raid alerts only 30 minutes into Saturday’s attack.

They were told to hide, but some found that the basement shelters in their apartment buildings were locked.

One person told the BBC that some basements have a paper with a phone number on the door for the person who has the key. “The worst thing that could happen is if the management company has the key, and since it’s the winter holidays, no one is working. ”

What’s the reason for Russia bombing Ukraine more often.

Sheltering from attack is a bigger problem in Ukraine. Attacks happen a lot and in many places. In winter, it’s dangerous for Ukrainians because Russian attacks happen mostly at night. They have to decide whether to sleep in metro stations or stay at home.

But in Belgorod, a city in Russia with 340,000 people that’s only 30 minutes from the border, one woman named Angela used social media to say that the emergencies ministry’s regional department didn’t know about shelters.

“How is this possible. ” she asked the local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

What if a person came to the city to help family. How can they find out about the management company. There has been a special military operation for two years,” she said, using the Kremlin’s term for the war in Ukraine.

Sergei said he has the same problem in his town, Stary Oskol, which is about 180km (110 miles) from the Ukrainian border. He said that the local government is not doing anything about it and just gives a standard response. If there’s shelling, we don’t know where to go to be safe.

According to another person in Belgorod, the shelters have had problems since the war began.

“I am very mad. People have been talking about it, but the shelter problem has only become known now that there have been casualties,” she told the BBC without giving her name.

A year and a half ago, when a tall apartment building was hit, people tried to find basements to hide in, but all the basements were closed. We don’t have bomb shelters that people know about or can use.

Shortly after Vladimir Putin ordered a big attack in February 2022, officials in Belgorod said they couldn’t tell people where the official bomb shelters were because the Ukrainian military might attack them.

Instead, they shared a video that tells you what to do during an air raid. It says to stay away from windows and go to the ground floor or basement.

When Belgorod was attacked again on January 2nd, many people there left their doors open so others could come inside and be safe from the fighting.

Alexander said, “We are just assisting one another. ”

The local leader has not answered publicly to people’s complaints. The BBC has asked his office for comments, but they have not responded yet.

Before the war, Belgorod had a strong connection with the much larger Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which is on the other side of the border.

Russian forces have bombed the middle of Kharkiv from Belgorod region many times. This area near the border has been impacted by the war more than any other place in Russia.

Yulia says that the bombing will definitely keep happening. “But what is going to be different. “

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