By the editor
HASAs Putin’s forces are pushed back to their starting point, tension grows in the city of Belgorod, according to the Guardian. The war has become impossible to ignore in this city in southern Russia, a few kilometers from the border with Ukraine.
Russian soldiers retreating from the Ukrainian counterattack wander aimlessly there as refugees arrive in droves. Air defense deploys several times a day. Russian and Ukrainian soldiers face each other, within sight of each other. People’s fears are growing: “They’re not going to invade us, are they? »
The tension is therefore quite palpable in Belgorod, even if most of the inhabitants do not envisage the possibility of an overflow of the conflict. “No one expects the war to come this far,” says restaurant owner Oleg. “But we have to be ready.” Denis, his business partner, says he hopes tensions will ease, but admits to having already built a bomb shelter in his garden.
Late in the evening, three Russian soldiers from Ossetia were spotted wandering the unfamiliar streets of the city. They appear unsteady, unsteady, possibly drunk or tired. They claim to have fought in Ukraine since February. Stationed in the village of Velyki Prokhody, just north of Kharkiv, when the urgent signal came to flee to Russia last week.
“An order is an order. We had no choice”, says one of the members of the trio. The English newspaper says they don’t know where they are going now, but it is likely they will be sent back south “to defend the border”, they suspect.
At the market in the city of Belgorod, Ukrainian soldiers are stocking up for the winter, a sign that the Russian invasion could last for months, or even much longer. An old market woman cries on one of their shoulders. “Please help us,” she sobbed emotionally. Local men approach the soldiers to pat them on the back. Suddenly, an explosion rings out, anti-aircraft fire tears through the apparent calm.
A growing fear
“The war is felt here in a way that you don’t feel in other cities,” according to Andrei Borzikh, a lawyer who bought equipment for the Russian army through the crowdfunding mechanism. In his car, there is a helmet and a bulletproof vest.
However, at no time did Ukraine indicate that it would cross the border with Russia or that it intended to do anything other than simply reclaim its occupied territories.