The Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion announced that they had crossed the border and were “liberating” settlements in the Belgorod region from the current Russian government.
On May 22, the Russian opposition fighters started with the villages of Kozinka and Gora Podol but are seeking to “liberate” the entire of Russia.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the penetration of an alleged Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group into the territory of the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation is a matter of deep concern.
“Of course, what happened yesterday (May 22 – ed.) is of deep concern. This once again confirms that Ukrainian militants continue their activities against our country, which requires more effort from us.”
The governor of the Belgorod region of Russia, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that a “sabotage and reconnaissance group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” had entered the territory of the Graivoronsky district.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov assured that Vladimir Putin had been informed of the border breach in Belgorod Oblast but that work was already underway to dislodge and destroy the “Ukrainian saboteurs.”
Ukraine denies any involvement, saying it’s an internal struggle in Russia. The spokesman for Ukrainian Military Intelligence, Andriy Yusov, said that on May 22, the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Legion of Freedom of Russia launched an operation in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation to create a “certain security strip” to protect Ukrainian civilians and that only Russian citizens are involved in this operation.
On May 23, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported the defeat of the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion in the Belgorod region, which they denied.
The official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said that the raid on the territory of the Belgorod region was allegedly preceded by intense shelling of the Kozynka international checkpoint and several villages in the Graivoronsky district.
The Russian military claims that those they did not defeat on Russian territory were pushed back to Ukraine, “where they continued to be shelled until they were eliminated.”
In response, the Freedom of Russia Legion said it continues to liberate the Belgorod region with the Russian Volunteer Corps. They emphasize that the Russian army was unable to oppose the “patriotic volunteers.”
FRL noted that the Russian Federation has no reserves to respond to military crises, as all the soldiers are dead, wounded or deployed in Ukraine.
“Russia is unprotected. There is panic in the Belgorod region; partly organized evacuation is taking place, but mostly spontaneous flight is taking place,” FRL stated.
The RVC emphasized that for Russia to end the war with Ukraine, it is necessary to defeat the enemy in the occupied territory. “The war will continue until Putin’s hanged body adorns the walls of the Kremlin and his gang are sentenced by a fair court of Russian anger,” the Russian volunteers believe.
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that most residents of the Graivoronsky district had left their homes after the crisis started.
The Russian army has deployed about 3,200 soldiers and 20 pieces of equipment for motorized infantry troops, about 1,000 people and 40 vehicles of army special forces. Units of the Alpha and Vympel Russian police special forces were deployed to the region.