A large number of Ukrainian ‘butterfly’ anti-personnel mines have been found spread across Russia’s Belgorod Region, which borders Ukraine, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov told reporters on Thursday.
He stated that the mines had been discovered after Kiev’s forces shelled the Shebekinsky urban district near the village of Sereda back in May, and that regional authorities were still unable to allow residents to return as many of the mines were still spread throughout the area.
The governor added that, due to the increasing threat, schools located in the 5km zone in nine border municipalities could not open as usual and that the situation was even further complicated by the fact that some children were beginning to find and play around with unexploded shells and cartridges.
He recalled that, earlier this month, one boy lost his hand after trying to disassemble ammunition that he had found in his village. He had also severely damaged his face and eyes. Gladkov has urged residents of Belgorod Region to exercise caution when walking down the streets.
“We must do everything to protect the lives of both the small inhabitants of the region and the adults,” he said, noting that local authorities, law enforcement and the Ministry of Defense were doing everything they can to make the region safe, but warned it was still dangerous.
Russian regions bordering Ukraine have been reporting attacks by Ukrainian forces since March, including mortar strikes, drone bombardments, and suspected sabotage attempts.
In May, a truck driver was killed in a mortar strike on the village of Tyotkino in Kursk Region, where several other civilians were injured.