Ukrainian bombing kills 14 Russian civilians, officials say, a day after Russia launched its biggest airstrike of the war

(CNN) — At least 14 people, including two children, were killed in a Ukrainian bombing in the Russian city of Belgorod this Saturday, according to the Russian Emergency Ministry.

According to Russian state news agency TASS, citing the Russian Emergency Ministry, Saturday’s deaths were the result of a “large-scale” attack in the center of Belgorod.

Saturday’s bombing came after Russia launched its largest air attack overnight against Ukraine since the beginning of the massive invasion, killing at least 39 people and wounding more than 150.

Ukrainian attacks on Russian areas near the border have continued almost daily for more than a year, sometimes resulting in civilian casualties. However, if confirmed, Saturday’s incident would be one of the deadliest such incidents.

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin had been informed about the attack in Belgorod, ordering a health ministry team and emergency ministry rescue workers to come to the city to help those affected.

About 40 civilian facilities in the city were damaged due to the bombing, which caused 10 fires, which have been extinguished.

Russian officials said Belgorod was also shelled on Friday night, killing one civilian, according to the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov. He said that four other people including a child were injured.

A child also died as a result of Ukrainian shelling in Russia’s Bryansk region on Saturday, the region’s governor Alexander Bogomaz said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it destroyed 32 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles flying over Russia’s Bryansk, Oryol, Mursk and Moscow regions, according to a Defense Ministry Telegram post on Saturday.

Ukraine has not commented publicly on the incidents and rarely takes responsibility for attacks on its neighbor.

Rescuers sifting through the debris of Kiev

Meanwhile, the death toll from Russian attacks on Ukraine, which saw an unprecedented number of drones and missiles fired at targets across the country, continued to rise.

Schools, a maternity hospital, shopping arcades and blocks of buildings were among the facilities hit by Friday’s bombing, which drew widespread international condemnation.

The death toll in the capital Kiev rose to 16 after more civilian bodies were recovered from the wreckage of a warehouse, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said Saturday. All deaths in Kiev occurred in the warehouse.

“The attack on the capital on 29 December was the largest in terms of civilian casualties since the beginning of a full-scale offensive,” he said.

“Rescuers are working and will continue to clear debris until tomorrow,” Klitschko said. “January 1 will be declared a day of mourning in Kiev.”

During the wave of attacks, Polish military officials claimed that an “unidentified aerial object” briefly entered their airspace.

Russia said it would not provide any explanation “unless concrete evidence is presented”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote in X that NATO is alert about this incident.

CNN’s Victoria Butenko, Svitlana Vlasova and Christian Edwards contributed to this report.

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