VIDEO: The Russian town of Shebekino, on the Ukrainian border, is completely deserted – all residents have fled
Shebekino, a town in Russia's Belgorod region with about 40.000 people, right on the border with Ukraine, is almost completely deserted after all residents fled after a week of intense shelling by the Ukrainian military.
The Ukrainian attacks followed a dramatic armed incursion by Ukraine two weeks ago that saw thousands of civilians flee the Russian city, fleeing mainly to the regional center of Belgorod.
"We left because (Shebekino) was bombed so much that our windows were broken," a woman from the town told the agency. AFP.
Ukrainian media published footage from Shebekino, showing a mobile phone shop abandoned and looted.
Kiev denies that its military is shelling the city and claims that Shebekino is home to local Russian guerrillas fighting the regime of Vladimir Putin. Videos with footage of the fighting in the Russian city were also published these days.
Pensioner Antonina Zanikina, who is among the refugees from Shebekino, says that her 30-year-old neighbor had to have his arm amputated after he was wounded in the shelling.
"Many houses have been destroyed," she says, adding that Shebekino has been the target of numerous attacks before, but they have never been this intense.
Although local authorities have announced the evacuation of the entire region around the city, AFP reports that Moscow appears to be downplaying the situation in the border regions, which have been under heavy attacks all week.
The mayor of Belgorod, Valentin Demidov, said on Friday that about 5.000 people who fled the border villages were registered with city authorities, and several hundred were in temporary housing.