THE RUSSIAN military will do everything possible to reduce and then eliminate the threat of Ukrainian shelling attacks on Russian cities, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
He pointed out that the Ukrainian armed forces had fired cluster munitions at downtown Belgorod.
‘Our troops will continue to do everything to first reduce this threat and then fully eliminate it,’ Peskov emphasised.
‘The Kiev regime has shamelessly stooped to using cluster munitions in mounting attacks on a central city area, where there are no military facilities,’ he added.
The Kremlin Spokesman on Tuesday called on people to not forget that strikes at Russian territory and its civilian facilities are being carried out with Western-made weapons.
‘I would like to point out that strikes were being carried out constantly at our territory and civilian facilities, at downtown Belgorod ahead of the New Year’s Eve. Constant shelling takes place via shells and missiles, produced in Germany, France, Italy, the US and other countries.
‘Let us not forget about that,’ the spokesman told reporters when asked to comment on the White House’s claim that Russia allegedly uses DPRK-made weapons for strikes at Ukraine.
He refrained from commenting on the White House’s claim itself.
Ukraine is cynically seeking to compensate for its lacklustre record on the battlefield by killing civilians through its attacks on Russia’s borderline Belgorod Region, said Rodion Miroshnik, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for the crimes of the Kiev regime.
He described recent Ukrainian attacks on Belgorod and Donetsk around the New Year’s and Orthodox Christmas holidays as a kind of ‘hybrid substitute for (actual battlefield) victories’ and an ‘outright crime’.
‘They are continuing to convert their lack of victories into the (cold-blooded) killing of children, women and the elderly,’ Miroshnik said in a broadcast of the Soloviev Live TV show.
‘Nowhere is murdering a child seen as a virtue, but Ukraine has been attempting to turn things on their head (to make a vice into a virtue) as they (desperately) attempt to make up for their (abysmal) lack of victories,’ the Russian diplomat opined.
On December 30, 2023, Ukrainian forces fired two cluster munitions and Czech-made MLRS projectiles on the downtown section of Belgorod, a city of 340,000 people located about 40 kilometres from the Russian-Ukrainian border.
The latest figures put the death toll at 25, including five children, with more than 100 people suffering injuries. Over 800 apartments and 132 private homes were damaged in the attack.
The Ukrainian military fired some 25 rounds of munitions at Russia’s borderline Belgorod Region over the past 24 hours, regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram on Tuesday.
‘Air defences downed ten aerial targets in Belgorod. Falling fragments shattered the windows of four apartments in multi-family buildings and two private houses, damaging three household buildings, six cars and a gas pipeline,’ he noted.
Air defences also shot down aerial targets over the Belgorod District; two men and a woman suffered injuries.
‘Damage to five private houses and 11 cars was reported on January 9 following the activation of air defences.
‘A private house, three cars and a power line suffered damage in the Dubovskoye settlement; an apartment building was damaged in the Streletskoye settlement, a garage was damaged in the Tavrovskoye settlement and a car suffered damage in the Krutologskoye settlement,’ the governor specified.
In addition, the Ukrainian armed forces attacked the villages of Zhuravlyovka and Nekhoteyevka in the Belgorodsky District with drones on Monday and fired an artillery shell at Nekhoteyevka.
The Nizhniye Melnitsy farming community came under mortar fire in the Valuisky District, where ten shells were fired.
Ten artillery shells were fired at the town of Shebekino in the Shebekinsky District, and four mortar shells at the village of Terezovka. ‘No casualties or damage were reported in the district,’ Gladkov noted.
The Russian Defence Ministry said earlier that ten Ukrainian RM-70 Vampire rockets had been destroyed over the Belgorod Region.
In a separate development, the situation around the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which has been repeatedly attacked by the Ukrainian armed forces since coming under Russian control in 2022, is pointing to the necessity of developing new standards for ensuring the safety and security of nuclear facilities, Renat Karchaa, adviser to the CEO of Russian state nuclear power corporation Rosenergoatom, told TASS.
The energy official noted that existing regulations and instructions do not contain any provisions on nuclear facilities functioning under the conditions of aggression with the use of heavy weapons against an NPP.
Karchaa said: ‘Above all, (it is necessary) to introduce additional technological protection measures in the current standards, rules and regulations, including to cover cases of the use of force by means of artillery fire, as well as the enhancement of security measures for what we have been calling the physical perimeter.
‘The first part involves additional technical protection measures, while the second part is what we are calling actions by responsible personnel in the event that such threats emerge. These are the new standards.’
He also noted that it is necessary to reconsider the security of storage systems at the NPP.
The official stressed: ‘The nuclear reactors themselves are located in super-protected facilities, from the point of view of durability, but there are cases where nuclear materials are being stored in vulnerable facilities.
‘In my opinion, it is necessary to reconsider the protocol for storing fissionable materials, including nuclear fuel or spent materials. Practice shows that there is certain vulnerability because plants were not intended to be subject to (heavy weapons) strikes.
‘The same goes for the cooling system, not from the point of view of reconsidering its operations, but from the point of view of protecting it.’
All processes occurring around the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant should be reanalysed, he added. The official gave high marks to the existing safety and security measures, highlighting the significant role played by the Russian Armed Forces.
‘What could have nuclear experts done on their own from the point of view of ensuring security if not for the military? The facility is duly protected. The (Russian Armed Forces’) Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Forces are playing a very serious role in ensuring this,’ Karchaa noted.
Located in Energodar, the Zaporozhye nuclear facility, with roughly 6GW of capacity, is the largest of its kind in Europe. Russia took control of the plant on February 28, 2022, in the first days of its special military operation in Ukraine.
Since then, units of the Ukrainian army have periodically conducted shelling both of residential districts in nearby Energodar and the premises of the nuclear plant itself, by means of drones, heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).
- The Government of the Russian Federation has approved on Monday a list of foreign states and territories that commit unfriendly actions against Russia, its companies, and citizens.
The list includes the United States and Canada, the EU states, the UK (including Jersey, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar), Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, Albania, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, North Macedonia, and also Japan, South Korea, Australia, Micronesia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan (considered a territory of China, but ruled by its own administration since 1949).
The countries and territories mentioned in the list imposed or joined the sanctions against Russia after the start of a special military operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine.
The government noted that according to this decree, Russian citizens and companies, the state itself, its regions and municipalities that have foreign exchange obligations to foreign creditors from the list of unfriendly countries will be able to pay them in roubles.
The new temporary procedure applies to payments exceeding 10m roubles per month (or a similar amount in foreign currency).