“We are used to it,” the 34-year-old sales director told AFP.
The Belgorod region witnessed on Monday the biggest armed incursion into Russia from Ukraine since Moscow launched its offensive in February 2022.
Shelling and drones were part of the assault which raised questions about the strength of Russian border defences.
People living in several border communities fled and the army and security forces deployed warplanes and artillery to halt the raids.
In the regional capital, also called Belgorod, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Ukraine, no signs of panic are visible despite the frequent shells and drones that have fallen here for the last few months.
“The news is really concerning, we are worried,” Saprykina says. The strikes “take place every day, we can hear them”.
“But even if it’s frightening, we are used to it,” she adds.
Viktor Kruglov, 24, who works for on online sales site, says he too wondered about leaving Belgorod because of the repeated bombings.
“But if it’s your destiny, it doesn’t matter where you go, what will happen, will happen.”
-‘What can we do?’ –
Fatalism seems to be a dominant force across the city. While some people do confess to a certain amount of worry, there’s no sign of panic.
There is no military presence or even a stepped-up police deployment to be seen in the city centre.
The town centre is full of carefree people enjoying the sun in parks and along the banks of the Vezelka river, Shops are packed and cafe terraces doing brisk business.
Retired teacher Rimma Malieva, aged 84, is above all worried about her dog which frets whenever military helicopters buzz overhead or explosions are heard.
“He runs all over without knowing where to go. Dogs are afraid of loud noises, especially when the (Russian) anti-aircraft guns go into action. So he’s the one who’s most afraid,” she explained.
“As for us, what can we do? We just shout ‘Oh! and ‘Ah!’. What will that change?”
Behind her, on the facade of the building a white arrow shows the way to the nearest air raid shelter, a reminder of the reality of the raging conflict.
Alongside army recruitment posters, pictures have been put up around the of city of “Heroes of Russia”, soldiers killed in combat in Ukraine.
Such symbols of the conflict mix in with the Soviet red stars and photos from World War II left over from the annual commemoration of victory over Nazi German on May 9.
Memories of the “Great Patriotic War” are kept very alive in the region which in 1943 saw some of the biggest tank battles in history. Belgorod was almost totally destroyed during WWII.
Ukrainians ‘not stupid’
Galina, a 74-year-old pensioner who has lived in Belgorod for 50 years, says she is still amazed that dozens of fighters are able to enter into Russia from Ukraine.
“It’s strange, usually it’s small groups who infiltrate. But this was quite a big group,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter … they were pushed back and some sent into the beyond.”
Galina said she trusts President Vladimir Putin.
Most of the locals questioned by AFP professed to having confidence in the authorities to fix the weaknesses laid bare by the latest raid.
Ukrainians “are not stupid, they are testing all the time,” said 41-year-old builder Evgeny Sheikin.
The incursion was “very probably a sort of test. And it seems there was a gap,” in the Russian defence.
Heis counting on the authorities to fill the gap.
“Of course, it should not have happened .. some serious work will be done” to improve security.
But Sheikin insisted he has no plans to leave the area, and is prepared “to defend” the city if necessary.
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