Two dead in shelling of Russia’s Belgorod border region, governor says

Shelling in Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, has killed two women, the region's governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram post Friday.

He blamed Ukrainian forces for the shelling, saying they had fired at a road in the village of Maslova Pristan, in the Shebekino district. Ukraine has not commented on the claim.

“Shell fragments hit cars passing by. Two women were traveling in one of them. They died on the spot from their injuries,” Gladkov said.

He said two men travelling in a separate car were injured by shrapnel and were taken to hospital.

Meanwhile, anti-Putin Russian fighters from the Freedom for Russia Legion, who claim to be fighting in Belgorod, said Russian troops “destroyed a Renault car with civilians, mistaking it for one with our sabotage group” near the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka, which is approximately a 20-minute drive from Maslova Pristan.“At least two civilians were killed and this is a direct consequence of the unprofessionalism of Putin's army,” the group said.

CNN cannot independently verify the claims.

The Freedom for Russia Legion also claimed Friday there is “active fighting on the outskirts of the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka."

"Unfortunately, there are wounded legionaries, but freedom is gained through blood. All the wounded have already been taken to hospital,” it said.

Although the Freedom for Russia Legion is aligned with the Ukrainian defense forces, Kyiv has previously stated they act as “independent entities” when operating in Russia.

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk told CNN’s Eleni Giokos on Thursday that Ukraine “does not have any responsibility” over the Russian dissident groups who have claimed to be fighting inside Russian territory.

Amid the intensified violence in the region, Gladkov said Thursday that evacuations were underway, and that 2,500 people have been moved to temporary accommodation.

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