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At three o’clock in the morning on July 3, Belgorod woke up from explosions. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the border Belgorod region has repeatedly been subjected to shelling, according to local authorities, from the Ukrainian side. And she repeatedly faced their consequences – for example, in April there was a fire at the Rosneft oil depot, and in May two people died in the villages of Solokhi and Zhuravlevka. But the regional center was subjected to such large-scale air strikes for the first time. Dozens of houses – both multi-apartment and private – along Mayakovsky, Michurin, Chumichov, Popov and Pavlov streets were damaged. Five of them were completely destroyed. Four people were injured, five died. How Belgorod is experiencing the consequences of a night shelling – in a joint report by 7×7 and Meduza.

“You think it won’t catch up? People from Kharkov arrived – they caught up!

On the roadside, at the exit from Mayakovsky Street in Belgorod, are armfuls of fresh flowers. The townspeople carry them here in the morning – in memory of those who died as a result of the night shelling.

Next to the impromptu memorial is a multi-storey building surrounded by red and white ribbons of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. The window frames are now empty. There is also no private house that used to stand in the neighborhood – only fragments remained of it. The next house – also private – is less damaged; it just doesn’t have a roof.

A series of explosions in Belgorod, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, was a “deliberate strike” by the Armed Forces of Ukraine with Tochka-U ballistic missiles with cluster munitions. According to the official version, air defense systems destroyed all three missiles in the air, but fragments of one of them fell on a residential building on Mayakovsky Street. As a result, people died, including four citizens of Ukraine. investigative committee aroused criminal case on the fact of the shelling of the city.

The police Ford blocked the entrance to Mayakovsky Street. In the courtyard of one of the neighboring high-rise buildings lies a pile of cracked, uprooted window frames. And on the first floor, a man with a naked torso is covering his balcony with plastic wrap. “These are not mine,” he tells the correspondent, nodding at the frames under the balcony, “It is higher.”

Belgorod residents know about nighttime explosions only “from words”. “Tochka-U was shot down. The piece fell on the house. Three died. It seems like the fourth dug up. From Kharkov,” he retells. And he admits: “It’s scary, but what to do?” And when asked if he is going to leave the city now, he answers dryly: “It will be seen.”

Police and emergency workers walk around the yard as workers—not wearing special uniforms—throw glass into a dumpster with a loud clang. Two men come out of the entrance of one of the damaged apartment buildings – one is wearing a blue rescue service vest, the other is holding a notebook.

– So, let’s go report? asks the one with the notepad.

– Yes, what! Let’s go drink some coffee, – the partner in the blue vest answers him.

Further down the street, another red and white ribbon surrounds another private house with broken windows and ripped slate. There is a crowd in front of the tape. With his hands folded behind his back, a boy in a blue T-shirt with the letter Z on his chest sways from side to side. The policeman shyly wanders around the perimeter of the cordon and stands at the edge. When someone pulls out their phone, it will chirp softly: “Photography of this object is currently prohibited.”

“Very painful,” a woman sitting on a bench nearby tells how she experienced that night to a correspondent. Adds: “You didn’t survive it!” And emotionally explains why he sees no point in leaving Belgorod somewhere: “Do you think he won’t catch up? People from Kharkov came – caught up! And you ask to leave.

What is known about the explosions in Belgorod

“Only mother and brother survived”

The wreckage of Tochka-U, which, according to the Russian authorities, was shot down by air defense and which Belgorod residents are discussing, hit a private house at 25 Mayakovsky Street on the night of July 3. At that time, there were seven people in the house, including four refugees from the Kharkov region. Only two survived, says Ilona, ​​a relative of the dead (she asked not to use her last name).

“I was sleeping when my dad called me at about four in the morning,” recalls Ilona, ​​who now lives in Voronezh. – He was with his brother in the hospital – he had a fragment in his eye, he was operated on. He said that the shell exploded in the yard at my mother’s house. When I got through to my mother, she said that my stepfather Artem (name changed) and his entire family died. Only my mother and brother survived.

Artem moved to Russia from Ukraine a few years ago. A year ago, he received Russian citizenship, and after the start of the war, he took his family out of Kharkov – his ex-wife, mother-in-law, son and daughter. They were settled in an outbuilding attached to the house. On the night of July 3, when the first explosion thundered, Ilona’s mother and brother stayed at home, and Artem went out to check on the family. After several more explosions, Ilona’s mother ran out into the street to fetch her husband. He covered her from the fragments with himself, and he himself received a through wound.

“When my stepfather ran to the wing, he was no longer there: the extension was demolished to be clean,” says Ilona. “People are now being collected piecemeal. As a result, the stepfather and his entire family – five people – died. There was nothing left of the house – an open field behind a fence. I don’t know why the authorities only talk about four. Of all the bodies, only Artyom’s body was intact – the rest are collected in parts. ”

Having learned about the tragedy, Ilona immediately began to think about how to help her loved ones: tomorrow, after the college exam, the girl will return from Voronezh to Belgorod, to her family. What happened, she says, did not affect her anti-war position. “I think I should tell everyone about what happened,” explains Ilona. Nobody knows if it will happen again. I could imagine something flying into my hometown. I called my family to move to me in Voronezh. But I didn’t think how much it could affect me personally. I am very glad that my close people – my brother and mother – survived. But now I still adhere to the pacifist position: I am against any war. We live in an age of advanced technology, in which we should not kill people.”

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the girl, along with other volunteers, began to help Ukrainian refugees in Voronezh. But now, says Ilona, ​​she needs help herself. Her family hopes that the Belgorod authorities will restore the destroyed house. Ilona also plans to raise money to help her family on her own. The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, promised to pay three million rubles to the families of the dead, and 500,000 rubles to the wounded.

“How can we sleep peacefully now”

Not far from the house where Ilona’s family lived, the Belgorod authorities set up an operational headquarters. It is cordoned off, and there are practically no people behind the white-red ribbon. But Belgorod residents crowd in neighboring yards. Locals sitting outside their houses with broken windows say people come to see the destruction like tourists.

“I am not a local, I live here 10 minutes walk,” a woman who has just photographed the destroyed roof of a private house tells the correspondent. Thank God we didn’t get hurt. Just smashed the windows.”

Mayor of Belgorod Anton Ivanov quickly passes by. He has a tablet in his hand.

“Now we are conducting door-to-door and door-to-door rounds, assessing the damage,” the mayor says to the correspondent, without slowing down.

– And where the workers do something, have they already appreciated everything?

— No, while these are temporary enclosing structures.

What are the residents saying?

– What can they say? Are waiting.

– Aren’t you afraid that something else will come?

We do not discuss this issue with them. I don’t go anywhere, I’m always here. Now we are waiting for everything to be repaired,” the mayor sums up. And accelerating, he crosses the road to a newly lit red.

An elderly couple and a middle-aged man with a can of beer are sitting on benches near another high-rise building damaged by the explosions, not yet surrounded by protective structures, not far from the traffic light.

“It banged, the glass flew out,” the man with beer says succinctly about the events of that night.

— Our her [ракету] knocked down, she fell on a residential building, – an elderly man picks up, pointing with a cane in the direction of Ilona’s house. Adds: “Five people were killed.”

– You do not drive away people who come to you to stare? the correspondent asks.

– No, why? We are people. We are not Ukrainians, not enemies of the people! – answers Belgorod with a cane. And he continues: “How scary is it when people are killed? Moreover, innocent people. And the elderly, and young, and children. It’s a pity. Arrived [из Украины] – they were killed. But what to do if the shelling is repeated, he does not know: “There is nowhere to hide. Go to the store, take a bottle and wash. Nothing nobody [из властей] did not tell”.


“How can I live peacefully after what happened?” – the main question for the Belgorodites. His crowd, gathered at the damaged and destroyed houses in the area of ​​​​Mayakovsky Street, discussed from early morning. It is necessary to seal the windows with adhesive tape and, in case of shelling, hide near the load-bearing wall, the man emotionally advised the neighbors.

– And how to sleep? the crowd asked.

“It’s good for you: at least there is a place to sleep,” the woman responded to this.

Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, who arrived at the scene, also took part in the discussion in absentia. To the question of Belgorod residents, how can they sleep peacefully now, the head of the region answered: “No way. I can’t say that [прилетов] never will be again.”

About shelling in Ukrainian Kremenchug


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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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