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Seven injured in cross-border shelling from Ukraine

Seven people, including a pregnant woman and a child, were injured on Thursday in a shelling that targeted a village in Russia located close to the border with Ukraine, Russian officials said. A separate attack targeting a nearby border crossing was reported by the guards.

The first incident happened in the village of Klimovo in Russia’s Bryansk Region, some 10km north of the border. Projectiles fired by Ukrainian troops hit residential buildings, Governor Aleksandr Bogomaz said.

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Seven people were reported injured in the incident by health officials. A list of victims published by Russian media said a two-year-old boy, a 74-year-old woman, and a 35-year-old man were seriously hurt during the shelling. A later update by the Health Ministry said the toddler’s injuries were moderate rather than serious. The baby’s 25-year-old pregnant mother was also among the victims.

READ MORE: Russia warns Ukraine it might strike Kiev

Local residents said they heard three explosions. Footage from the scene showed heavy black smoke rising into the air. Local officials said two buildings caught fire after the attack, but they were dealt with by firefighters. Local schools canceled in-person classes following the incident.

Klimovo is located some 10km from the border with Ukraine’s northern Chernigov Region. Russia pulled back its troops from Chernigov earlier this month, citing tentative progress made during peace talks with Kiev.

The second attack hit the Novye Yurkovichi checkpoint, some 40km southwest of Klimovo, according to a statement released by the local border guard branch of the FSB. It said mortar shells fired from Ukrainian territory had hit at the moment when a group of refugees from Ukraine were crossing the border. Two vehicles were damaged, but no casualties were reported.

The border guards’ statement said the firing position had been “suppressed.”

On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry warned that it may escalate military action in Ukraine and even target “decision-making centers” in Kiev, unless Ukrainian attacks on targets in Russian territory stop.

Russia attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

Russia has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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