The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said four people were killed on Friday in two separate Ukrainian shelling attacks on towns near the border, while officials in nearby regions reported overnight drone attacks.
Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram that shelling had struck the town of Maslova Pristan, some 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Ukraine’s northern Kharkiv region, and that fragments had struck passing cars.
“Two women were travelling in one of them. They died from their injuries on the spot,” he said.
Gladkov later said two people had been killed and six injured when rockets hit the town of Sobolevka, 125 km to the southeast of the first incident. The victims had been standing outside close to residential buildings, he said.
Sobolevka is 14 km from the border with Ukraine. Russian officials have in recent days reported intensified attacks from northern Ukraine.
Pro-Ukrainian forces have repeatedly shelled the town of Shebekino over the last week, Russian officials said. All road and rail travel in the district had been suspended until June 30, Gladkov said.
More than 2,500 people were being evacuated from the Shebekino area, he said, given that it was not safe to be there.
The governor of the Bryansk region, north of Belgorod, said four homes had been damaged by shelling, while the head of neighbouring Kursk region said some buildings had been damaged in an overnight drone attack.
Long-range drones also hit two towns in the Smolensk region overnight, the local governor there.
Reuters could not independently verify the reported attacks.
Ukrainian forces in Kyiv said on Friday they shot down 36 Russian missiles and drones in and around the capital overnight, with two people injured by falling debris before authorities lifted air raid alerts across most of the country.
Russia has launched about 20 missile and drone attacks on Kyiv since the beginning of May, a surge in strikes that the government says appears aimed at derailing Ukraine’s preparations for a major counteroffensive.
An Air Force statement said its air defences had shot down 15 cruise missiles and 21 drones. It said a wave of drones had been launched late on Thursday, followed by a volley of cruise missiles as people slept at around 3 a.m. local time.
“The occupiers are not stopping their attempts to terrorize the Ukrainian capital with strike drones and missiles,” it said.
The capital’s military authorities, writing on Telegram, praised the city’s air defences and said there were no reports of damage or casualties.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who earlier reported two separate waves of attacks, wrote on Telegram that there had been no calls for rescue services.
In the region outside Kyiv, authorities said two people were injured as a result of falling debris, including a child.
“In addition, the falling debris damaged five private houses,” the state administration said on the Telegram messaging service.
President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered an audit of all Ukrainian air raid shelters on Friday as a rift widened with Kyiv’s mayor after the deaths of three people locked out on the street during a Russian attack.
A nine-year-old girl, her mother and another woman were killed by falling debris after rushing to a Kyiv shelter on Thursday and finding it was shut.
“There can be no excuses for this level of negligence in the city,” Mr. Zelensky said in an evening video address, adding he had told the strategic industries minister and the interior minister to conduct a “full audit of bomb shelters.”
Police have detained four people in an investigation into the deaths. Three of them may be charged with official negligence, the interior ministry said in a statement on Telegram.
The deaths caused a public outcry and a promise of a harsh response by Mr. Zelensky, which appears aimed at Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko, a former world champion boxer who has clashed with the president before.
Mr. Zelensky said Kyiv inhabitants had been publishing information about closed shelters and the absence of shelters in some parts of the city.
Mr. Klitschko acknowledged at a local committee meeting on Friday that he bore some responsibility but said others were to blame, particularly allies of the president.
He said spending on shelters in Kyiv districts, most of which are led by members of Mr. Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, had been “extremely unsatisfactory” and underlined the military administration was led by a presidential appointee.
Mr. Klitschko called for “common and fair responsibility” and said he may lobby for the dismissal of district heads after a review of spending on the maintenance of shelters.
“Districts of the capital are not separate principalities where you can walk around in white gloves and neglect your duties,” he said, adding that he would not tolerate “sabotage.”
In an earlier spat, Mr. Zelensky accused Mr. Klitschko in November of doing a poor job setting up emergency shelters to help people without power and heat.