“In the Belgorod region, the head of the Zhuravlyovsky rural settlement, Anzhelika Samoilova, left people on the street, announcing that their houses destroyed after shelling would not be restored. On behalf of the official, the villagers were forced to evacuate and sign receipts that the local authorities "are not responsible for them". They didn’t offer resettlement options to people, only hotels at the expense of the budget, and they were allowed to come to the village for an hour to feed the animals”, - said one of the popular telegram channels.
What really happened in Zhuravlyovka? Are the inhabitants really left to fend for themselves?
“Zhuravlyovka has been shelled many times already. Shelling is ongoing, - Oksana Artyomova, the editor-in-chief of Bel.ru reports from Belgorod. - People evicted from the places of shelling and from the affected houses live in hotels in Belgorod, there is no open information about their place of residence. There are many damaged cars, tractors, other vehicles, but there is information that only those who agreed to move will repair and restore vehicles. Some cases of shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine were advertised, most of them were not. Now all border villages are closed to the public”.
It all started on March 23rd. According to the governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov in his telegram channel, there was a shot from Ukraine towards the Belgorod region. At the same time, in March, a state of emergency was declared in Zhuravlyovka and Nekhoteyevka.
Shelling of the Belgorod region by the Armed Forces of Ukraine continued in April. On April 25, it became known again about the shelling of the villages of Zhuravlyovka, Nekhoteyevka and Golovchino. On the morning of April 26 - repeated shelling in the Grayvoron urban district. There were no casualties, but there were reports of four damaged areas and one vehicle. There were no casualties among the civilian population. The Federal Investigative Committee opened a criminal case. A few days later, they again reported the beginning of the shelling in Zhuravlyovka. Two local residents, a man and a woman, were injured.
In May, the shelling of the Belgorod region became more frequent. So, on May 11, 54 houses and six cars, a school, a library and a recreation center were damaged. Six vehicles were also damaged. On the morning of May 15, from the side of Ukraine, the border village of Sereda, Shebekinsky city district, was fired upon. Numerous victims were avoided due to the temporary resettlement of residents to a safer place - to a sanatorium. Belgorod residents have been living there for two weeks. True, their pets remained in the village. However, after the increased shelling, some decided to take the animals too. They will be taken to a farm where they will be cared for and fed. When the situation stabilizes, the animals will be returned to their owners. Despite the resettlement, one of the civilians still received a shrapnel wound.
Live on May 16, the Governor of the Belgorod Region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, clarified the situation with the destroyed houses in the villages of Zhuravlyovka and Nekhoteevka, which are located near the Russian-Ukrainian border. The official said that they have not yet begun to restore the buildings. “We don’t do this because there are shellings. Can I influence this situation in terms of shelling? No. As soon as the security issue is resolved, we will immediately begin repairs, as happened in many other villages, and we will do it as quickly as possible and to the extent necessary”.
According to the governor, out of 1,200 residents of border villages, 46 people decided to stay at their former place of residence. The authorities still cannot convince them to leave their homes and temporarily move to a safer place. Those who nevertheless left the villages were accommodated with relatives or in a hotel in Belgorod. According to the governor, these people live in good conditions. As for the farm that people left in Zhuravlyovka and Nekhoteevka, officials offer Belgorod residents to place their pets with farmers or sell them.
According to Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, during the entire period of the special military operation in the Belgorod region, 281 households were damaged, of which 126 have already been restored. People also suffer. So, since February 24, 19 people have been injured, and one civilian has died in an ambulance from his injuries.
We tried to get through to the government of the Belgorod region. There is no connection in the Zhuravlyovsky rural settlement, which was fired upon by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It was probably damaged as a result of these attacks. So we could not verify the information about the actions of the head of this rural settlement, Anzhelika Samoilova.
The press service of the Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov explained to us: “The emergency mode is partially in effect, a yellow danger level has been introduced throughout the region. By order of the governor, the houses are being restored. We can’t say anything about the introduction of a sanitary zone in the shelling area”.
To clarify the future of the inhabitants of the regions that are under shelling, we turned to the government of the Belgorod region. To be honest, we do not understand at all how the locals communicate with the local authorities, because they are silent. During the day, neither the governor, nor his deputies, nor any of the ministers, nor the governor's press secretary answered us. And this despite the fact that, according to the press service, "everything is under the control of the governor"!
At first, everyone, including the governor, his deputies and ministers, "were at the meeting." In the press service, which is headed by Ivan Bryzgalin, no one answered the phone during the day either. In the information policy department of the government of the Belgorod region, we were told that "all official information is transmitted through official channels", - and the secretary of the Minister of Property and Land Relations, Rustema Zainullina, even stated that she "is not aware of what is happening in Zhuravlyovka and Nekhoteyevka".
There is no feedback from the authorities, as we were informed by local residents. Yes, we ourselves have seen this in our own example. It is possible that the media transmit information that is beneficial exclusively to the governor. And there was no evidence of the inhabitants themselves, and no.
Whether a sanitary zone will be introduced in the area of shelling, whether there will be a mass evacuation in connection with the approach of the Armed Forces of Ukraine close to the borders of the region - there is not a word about this in the regional administration. But we, compatriots of people who find themselves in a situation that threatens their lives, care. Therefore, please consider this publication an official editorial request. After all, #WeDontLeaveOffOurs, right?