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Russians 'queue up for midnight train as they flee border city'

Russians ‘queue up for midnight train as they flee border city used to launch Putin’s strikes on Ukraine after late-night missiles are intercepted overhead’

  • Panicked residents of Belgorod desperately tried to catch a train out of the city
  • Came after missiles fired from Ukraine were intercepted last night
  • Kyiv is launching a counter-offensive and has warned Russians in Ukraine to flee 

Panicked Russians are desperately fleeing the border city of Belgorod after Ukraine unleashed a string of overnight missiles in their dramatic fight back against Putin.

Footage taken from the station, located just 25 miles from Ukraine, shows civilians trying to cram on to the midnight train leaving the city last night.

The mad rush came after videos were shared on Telegram of Ukrainian missiles flying overhead in the city before they were interrupted by defence systems.

The rockets exploded in bright white lights, illuminating the night’s sky above residential buildings.

Belgorod has been considered vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks due to its proximity to the border and its storage of Russian weaponry, with the Kremlin regularly launching strikes from the region.

Panicked Russians are desperately fleeing the border city of Belgorod after Ukraine unleashed a string of overnight missiles in their dramatic fight back against Putin

Last week, a fire at a munitions depot in Belgorod led to the evacuation of two villages.

And in July, at least three people were killed and hundreds of homes were damaged in what appeared to be a Ukrainian airstrike.

The panic comes as Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russians to flee for their lives after his forces launched an offensive to retake southern Ukraine.

Ukraine said on Monday its ground forces had gone on the offensive in the south for the first time after a period of striking Russian supply lines, in particular bridges across the strategically-important River Dnipro, and ammunition dumps.

In a late night address on Monday, Zelensky called on Russian forces to go home or be chased home.

The mad rush came after videos were shared on Telegram of Ukrainian missiles flying overhead in the city before they were interrupted by defence systems.

‘If they want to survive – it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,’ he said.

‘Ukraine is taking back its own (land),’ Zelensky said, adding that he would not disclose Kyiv’s precise battle plans, but that his armed forces were doing their job.

The new offensive comes after several weeks of relative stalemate in a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions, destroyed cities and fuelled a global energy and food crisis amid unprecedented Western economic sanctions on Russia.

Russia captured swathes of Ukraine’s south near the Black Sea coast in its early phase, including in the Kherson region which lies north of the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula.

Ukraine, now armed with sophisticated Western-supplied weapons, sees retaking the region as crucial to prevent Russian attempts to seize more territory further to the west that could eventually cut off its access to the Black Sea.

Ukrainian servicemen fire a Polish 155 mm self-propelled tracked gun-howitzer Krab in Donetsk

A woman walks past a damaged administrative building in the center of Kharkiv after a Russian rocket

Oleksiy Arestovych, a senior Ukrainian presidential adviser, said Russian defences in the Kherson region had been ‘broken through in a few hours.’ It was unclear which line of Russian defence, of which there are many, he was referring to.

Arestovych also said Ukrainian forces were shelling ferries that Russia was using to supply a pocket of territory on the west bank of the Dnipro river in the Kherson region.

Britain, a close ally of Ukraine, said on Tuesday that Kyiv had stepped up its artillery barrage across the entire southern front, but said it was not yet possible to confirm the extent of Ukrainian territorial advances.

Vitaly Kim, governor of the Mykolaiv region, told Ukrainian TV: ‘Heavy fighting is going on. Our military is working around the clock. Liberation of the Kherson region is coming soon.’

Unverified reports, images and footage on social media suggested that Ukrainian forces may have taken back some villages and destroyed some Russian targets in the south.

Russia’s RIA news agency reported that the Russian-controlled town of Nova Kakhovka had been left without water or power after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a building in Sloviansk

However, Russia’s defence ministry said the Ukrainian offensive had been halted in its tracks.

It said in a statement that Ukrainian forces had attempted to go on the offensive in three different directions in the southern Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, but had lost some 560 military personnel, 26 tanks and two warplanes.

‘Another attempt by the enemy to go on the offensive has fallen apart,’ it said.

Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

Ukraine’s Suspilne public broadcaster reported explosions in the Kherson area on Tuesday, while city residents reported in social media posts gunfire and explosions. They said it was not clear who was firing.

A Russian-installed official in Kherson said Russian forces had discovered a Ukrainian sabotage group in the city and destroyed it.

Heavy Russian shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, was also reported.

At least five people were killed and seven were wounded, the mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Oleksandr Shulga looks at his destroyed house following a missile strike in Mykolaiv

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in central southern Ukraine, captured by Russian troops in March but still manned by Ukrainian staff, has been a hotspot in the conflict, with both sides trading blame for shelling in the vicinity.

Russian-installed authorities accused Ukrainian troops of firing two shells that exploded near a spent fuel storage building at the plant, the TASS news agency reported. There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian side.

A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is headed to the nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, and is due later this week to inspect and assess any damage.

Led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, the mission will evaluate working conditions and check safety and security systems, the Vienna-based organisation said.

The European Union is examining fresh ways to pressure Russia to end the war, but France and Germany warned on Tuesday against proposals to ban tourist visas for Russians, saying such a move – strongly backed by the Baltic states – would be counter-productive.

The Kremlin condemned the proposals as ‘irrational’

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