Explosion Rips Through 10-Story Russian Apartment Building

Russia has blamed Ukrainian strikes across the border after an apartment building in the country’s Belgorod region partially collapsed on Sunday.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Ukraine had used a Tochka-U tactical missile system and other weapons to attack “residential areas of the city of Belgorod” at approximately 11:40 a.m. Moscow time.

Russia’s air defenses destroyed 12 missiles, and “fragments of one of the downed Tochka-U missiles damaged a residential building” in Belgorod, Moscow said.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, later said the roof of the building had partially collapsed during the evacuation of residents. At least 19 people have been injured, Gladkov said in a post to messaging app Telegram. There are unconfirmed reports of fatalities at the site.

Ukraine has not yet officially commented, and Newsweek has reached out to the Kyiv’s military for comment.

Belgorod Apartment Building Collapse
A partially collapsed apartment building in Belgorod, Russia, on May 12, 2024. Air defenses destroyed 12 missiles, and “fragments of one of the downed Tochka-U missiles damaged a residential building” in Belgorod, Moscow said.

Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Footage widely shared across social media appears to show the moment a section of the building collapsed. Gladkov posted a brief video he said showed the extent of the damage from the first to tenth floor of the residential building.

Russia’s Belgorod region sits on the border with northeastern Ukraine, and has frequently experienced shelling and spillover in the more than two years of full-scale war in the country. It is perched to the north of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

Moscow launched a push on Kharkiv early on Friday, Ukraine said, adding it was quickly transferring additional resources to this new section of the front line. Russia said on Saturday that it had taken control of several settlements just over the border in Ukraine.

In a separate statement on Sunday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said two Ukrainian drones were destroyed by air defenses at around 13:30 p.m. Moscow time (5:30 a.m. ET) over the Belgorod region.

Pro-Ukrainian sources claimed the collapse of the residential building may be a Russian false-flag operation to justify the intensification of operations in northeastern Ukraine. Russia’s investigative committee said it had opened a criminal investigation, blaming Ukrainian shelling for the damage to the building.

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said on social media that rescue work had been paused, and then resumed, over fears of further missile strikes in Belgorod. Three rescuers were injured at the scene, reported Russian state news agency, RIA Novosti.

Gladkov said on Saturday that “the city of Belgorod and the Belgorod region were subjected to massive shelling from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.” One woman was killed and 29 people were injured, he said in a statement.