Russia will respond very harshly for Ukraine's attacks on Belgorod, Andrei Krasov, first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defence said.
"Although we do not take revenge, we will respond to the deaths of civilians, but we will strike military infrastructure and units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Krasov told lenta.ru publication.
Attacks on civilian targets indicate that Kyiv is using the same tactics as terrorists. Therefore, Russia will deal harshly with terrorists who use methods of intimidation and extermination of civilian population, the official added.
Ukraine shelled Russia's Belgorod in the afternoon of December 30. According to most recent reports, 18 people — 12 adults including children were killed, more than a hundred people were injured in the attack.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck Belgorod with Vilkha missiles and Czech-made Vampire MLRS.
More photos and videos from Belgorod on Pravda.Ru Telegram channel.
Russian Foreign Ministry representative Maria Zakharova said that Russia requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council due to the attacks on Belgorod. Moscow demanded a representative of the Czech Republic should take part in the meeting.
Ukraine's massive shelling of Belgorod caused considerable destruction in the city.
The Russian Ministry of Defence clarified that the missiles and most of the shells were intercepted, but several shells and missile fragments hit Belgorod. Fourteen people — 12 adults and two children — were killed, 108 others were hurt. The scale of the destruction would have been much larger if the Vilkha missiles had hit the city directly, the department said.
Belgorod Governor Gladkov:
It was also reported that Russia started shelling Kharkiv from the territory of the Belgorod region.
Maria Zakharova about the shelling of Belgorod:
"The UK is behind the terrorist attack on Belgorod. In coordination with the United States, the UK incites the Kyiv regime to take terrorist actions realising that Ukraine's counter-offensive has failed. <…> In the absence of the slightest chance of improving the deplorable situation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces "on the ground,” the Anglo-Saxons proceeded to carry out terrorist attacks against civilians.”
The Russian Defence Ministry:
Ukraine carried out an "indiscriminate combined strike” on Belgorod with the use of two prohibited Vilkha cluster missiles, as well as the Vampire multiple launch rocket system. The Vilkha missiles and most of Vampire shells were intercepted, "several rockets and cluster parts from the downed Vilkha missiles hit the city."
President Putin ordered to send a brigade of the Health Ministry, headed by Minister Murashko, as well as a group from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, to Belgorod to provide assistance to the victims, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
A Russian fighter with call sign Rassvet (Sunrise) destroyed an Abrams tank in the area of Avdiivka, the 15th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade said