Russia and Ukraine said they repelled numerous air attacks late Tuesday and early Wednesday, with intensified pounding of border regions forcing evacuations of civilians on both sides.

Russian officials said air defence systems destroyed Ukraine-launched missiles and drones over Belgorod, Kursk and Voronezh regions bordering Ukraine.

Drones were also downed deeper in Russia in the Saratov region.

Intense Russian bombing of Ukraine’s northeastern border region of Sumy meanwhile has prompted Kyiv to order evacuations of civilians. Russia’s Defence Ministry, posting on the Telegram messaging app, said air defence units had intercepted a dozen rockets and missiles over the Belgorod region by 10 p.m. (1900 GMT) Tuesday.

Soon after, it said it had intercepted two more missiles, including a US-made Patriot, over neighbouring Kursk region.

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Early Wednesday, Governor of the Saratov region, Roman Busargin, said that two Ukraine-launched drones were intercepted near the city of Engels.

Russia has a strategic bomber military base near the city.

No casualties or major damage were reported in any of the Ukraine-launched attacks.

Belgorod’s Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said late on Tuesday that 1,200 children from areas most at risk will be temporarily transported by the end of the week to other Russian regions.

He added that some 9,000 people have asked to be evacuated. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his nightly video address decried Russia’s “constant” attacks on Ukraine’s northeastern region of Sumy.

“Since the beginning of the month, Russian aviation has already dropped almost 200 guided bombs on the communities of Sumy region,” he said. “Villages, cities, civilian infrastructure.”

Authorities in Sumy said there had been 30 instances of shelling during the day on Tuesday.

One person had been killed in the border community of Velyka Pysarivka, focal point of an evacuation which got under way last week.

About 200 people have been evacuated from the endangered areas near Velyka Pysarivka in the past week, Ukrainian local officials said.

Both sides deny targeting civilians in the war that Russia started with its full-scale invasion on Ukraine two years ago and which has killed thousands and displaced millions since.

The development and use of drones and other air weapons has increasingly shifted the conflict away from the battlefield to air attacks on each other’s military, energy and transport infrastructure.


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