KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s southern Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, came under fire Friday from Ukrainian artillery fire, mortar shells and drones, authorities said, hours after two drones struck the Russian city in an area next to the annexed peninsula of Crimea.
Moscow forces, meanwhile, struck a building housing psychological and veterinary clinics in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, killing two people and wounding 30, including two children, Ukrainian officials said.
Footage released by regional governor Serhiy Lysak showed the fire engulfing the three-story building, which appeared almost destroyed, with only parts of the wall standing, as firefighters battled the flames.
A Russian S-300 missile hit a dam in the Karlivka district of Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine, threatening to flood nearby settlements.
The town of Graivoron in Russia’s Belgorod region, about 7 kilometers (more than 4 miles) from the Ukrainian border, was under fire for several hours, damaging four houses, a shop, a car, a gas pipeline and a power line. Vyacheslav Gladkov reported.
Closer to the border, a recreation center, a store and an empty house in the village of Glotovo were damaged. One woman was wounded when the nearby Novaja Tavolžanka was shelled, Gladkov said.
Earlier this week, the Belgorod region was the target of one of the most serious cross-border attacks from Ukraine since the war began 15 months ago. Details of the raid were sketchy. Russia has blamed Ukraine’s armed forces, but two Russian groups have said they were involved, with the aim of ousting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Officials in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, in the Krasnodar region bordering Crimea, said two drones had struck there. Witnesses told local media that they heard what sounded like the sound of a moped and then two explosions.
The explosions blew a hole in the roof of a building and blew out windows in an apartment building.
“We had just gone to bed and then there was such a loud, terrible boom,” resident Tatjana Safonova said. “We ran outside. There were people running, but nothing else was happening.”
She said she had previously described the sound as “like a growling, noisy moped going by”.
Krasnodar Region Governor Veniamin Kondratyev wrote on Telegram that there were no casualties and that some buildings were damaged, but that basic infrastructure was intact.
The mayor of Krasnodar Yevgeny Naumov said that a residential and an office building were damaged.
Drone attacks on Russia’s border regions have been a regular occurrence since the invasion began in February 2022, with attacks on the rise last month. Earlier this month, an oil refinery in Krasnodar was attacked by drones two days in a row.
At a meeting in Estonia, German and Baltic leaders played down concerns about the fighting spilling over into Russia.
“Russia attacked Ukraine, so Ukraine can defend itself,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. “It is clear that the weapons we delivered will only be used on Ukrainian territory.”
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas noted that “Ukraine has no desire to invade Russia,” and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte added, “I’m a little confused by Russia’s concerns, because Russia is at war – so it’s quite strange to think that war can be only in that other territory you invaded.”
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a video on Thursday that appears to show a maritime drone heading towards the Russian reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurs in the Black Sea. The video does not show the drone hitting the ship.
The video followed a report by the Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday that Ukraine had launched an unsuccessful attack on the Ivan Khurs using three unmanned speedboats, with all three destroyed before reaching the ship. Moscow released a video purportedly showing the destruction of one of the sea drones.
At least two civilians were killed and three wounded in Russian attacks on Ukraine in the previous 24 hours, the office of the Ukrainian president reported on Friday.
Late Friday, officials in the Russian sector of Donetsk reported two rocket strikes on the city of Mariupol, where much of the city is in ruins after a months-long siege at the start of the war.
Russia’s state-run Tass news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying the long-range missiles were Storm Shadows, which the United Kingdom delivered to Ukraine this month.
In Moscow, China’s special envoy Li Hui met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and they exchanged “opinions on the situation surrounding Ukraine and the prospects for resolving the conflict,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Lavrov cited “serious obstacles to the continuation of peace talks created by the Ukrainian side and its Western handlers,” the statement said, but did not say what Li said or suggested.
Li visited Kyiv earlier this month. Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government says it is neutral and wants to mediate the conflict, but has backed Moscow politically. Beijing announced a proposed peace plan in February, but Ukraine’s allies have largely rejected it, insisting that Russian President Vladimir Putin must withdraw his forces first.
Juras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia, and Elise Morton in London contributed.
Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine