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Specialists of various services work by a damaged shopping centre following an air attack on Belgorod, Russia, on Feb. 15.STRINGER/Getty Images

Seven people including a one-year-old girl were killed in a Ukrainian missile attack on Thursday on the southern Russian city of Belgorod, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

Eighteen other people, including four children, were hospitalized with injuries, with six in serious condition, Gladkov said, adding that four people, including two children, had already been released for outpatient treatment. He said the dead child’s name was Valentina.

“We are all grieving with the families and friends of the victims,” Gladkov wrote on Telegram. “I want to express my sincere condolences, realizing that there are no words that can comfort this grief.”

Later Gladkov said that another four injured, including two children, would be treated in Moscow.

Belgorod is the nearest major Russian city to the border with Ukraine, and the city and surrounding region have come under frequent attack since February 2022, when Russia sent its forces into Ukraine in what it calls a “special military operation”.

Russian authorities said 25 civilians were killed in the largest of these attacks at the end of December.

The Russian health ministry said it had despatched a team of medical specialists from federal centres to Belgorod.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the events an “act of terrorism by the Kyiv regime” on Telegram and said Russia would take the case to the U.N. Security Council.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv on the attacks. Many thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed in Russian attacks since the start of the war.

The Russian defence ministry said its air defence systems had shot down 14 Ukrainian rockets over the Belgorod region. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.

The ministry said the attack was carried out with Czech-made Vampire rockets, the same type which, according to Moscow, was used in deadly strikes on Belgorod in December.

The governor of the neighbouring Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said a shopping mall, an outdoor sports facility and residential areas were hit. “The enemy is deliberately hitting a cluster of civilians,” he said.

Video posted by Russian media showed Gladkov arriving at a store which had nearly all its windows shattered. Additional footage showed apartment complexes with blown-out windows and emergency workers running to aid injured people at an outdoor sports complex.

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