The GuardianThe Guardian

‘They won’t invade, will they?’ Fears rise in Russian city that Ukraine war could cross border

By Andrew Roth

18 Sep 2022 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

The Guardian has a vivid on-the-ground report from the Russian border town of Belgorod that shows a city occupied by demoralized Russian soldiers and increasingly fearful locals.

The war has become impossible to ignore in Belgorod, southern Russia, just miles from the border with Ukraine. Russian soldiers retreating from the Ukrainian counterattack now roam the streets. Air defences boom out overhead several times a day. The city is once again filled with refugees. And, at the border, Russian and Ukrainian soldiers stand within sight of each other.

Three Russian soldiers from Ossetia are wandering the unfamiliar streets past the grand Transfiguration Cathedral late one evening. They seem unsteady on their feet, perhaps drunk or tired. And they’re looking for a place to eat.

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