The Ministry of Defense of Russia assured this Tuesday to have liquidated all saboteurs that attacked the Belgorod region on Monday, bordering Ukraine, a country that has disassociated itself from said attack.
“Nationalist armed groups were surrounded and eliminated. More than seventy Ukrainian terrorists have been liquidated”, reported Igor Konashenkov, Defense spokesman, in his daily war part.
“In the course of the anti-terrorist operation, the nationalist formations were blocked and destroyed by air strikes and artillery firethe ministry stated in a statement.
Previously, Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, had said that forces continued to sweep through the countryside around the town of Graivoronwhere the alleged attack on Monday took place. Twelve civilians were injured in the attack, he said, and an elderly woman was killed during the evacuation..
Gladkov urged residents of the area who were evacuated to stay put and not return to their homes yet. “We will notify you immediately … when it is safe,” Gladkov said. “The security agencies are carrying out all the necessary actions. We are waiting for the anti-terrorist operation to end.”
Was impossible to independently verify who was behind the attack or what their objectives were. Disinformation has been one of the weapons in this almost 15-month war.
Although it is not the first time that Russia alleges an incursion by Ukrainian saboteurs, it is the the first time that the operation to counter it has lasted for a second day, highlighting the difficulties facing Moscow in the midst of his bogged down invasion of Ukraine and embarrassing the Kremlin. Russian territory and Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine have also been the target of drone strikes and explosions that have derailed trains, though Kiev authorities deny accusations they orchestrated them.
Ukraine claims that Russian citizens belonging to groups calling themselves the Russian Volunteer Corps and the “Russian Freedom” Legion are behind the assault.
Russian dissidents unhappy with the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin were behind the assault, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Tuesday. “These are Russian patriots, as we understand it. People who actually rebelled against the Putin regime,” she said.
The legion “Freedom of Russia” He claimed on his Telegram channel on Tuesday that both groups were still operating in the Belgorod area and that their goal was to “liberate” the region.
Belgorod authorities declared earlier this year that they had spent almost 10 billion rubles ($125 million; 116 million euros) on fortifications to protect the region from a raid in the middle of the war.
The spokesman for KremlinDmitry Peskov, stated that the raid “arouses deep concern” and that “greater effort” is required to prevent such incursions in the future.
Peskov declined to say how many attackers were involved in the assault or comment on why efforts to crack down on the attackers are taking so long.. In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, he redirected those questions to Russia’s Defense Ministry and the Federal Security Service, or FSB.
The Defense Ministry said it was “very likely” that Russian security forces were fighting partisans in at least three towns in Belgorod.
“Russia faces an escalating multi-domain security threat in its border regions, with combat aircraft losses, IED attacks on rail lines and now direct partisan actions,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, the country’s top law enforcement agency, announced an investigation into alleged terrorism and attempted murder in connection with the incident.
In addition to the alleged raid, Gladkov reported multiple drone strikes against Graivoron and other settlements in the Belgorod region on Monday night. The attacks caused no casualties, but damaged buildings and started a fire. On Tuesday morning, two more drones were shot down by the region’s air defense systems.
Gladkov first reported Monday afternoon that a group of Ukrainian Armed Forces saboteurs had entered Graivoron, a town about five kilometers (three miles) from the Ukrainian border. The town also came under Ukrainian artillery fire, he said.
He later announced an anti-terrorism operation in the area, saying the authorities were imposing special controls, including checking personal documents, and halting the work of companies that use “explosives and radioactive, chemically and biologically dangerous substances.”
He Russian Volunteer Corps he claimed to have crossed the border in early March. The shadowy group describes itself as “a formation of volunteers fighting on the side of Ukraine.” Little is known about the group, and it is unclear if it has any links to the Ukrainian military. The same is the case with the “Freedom of Russia” Legion.
The Belgorod region of southwestern Russia, like its neighboring Bryansk region and several other areas, has seen sporadic spillovers of war, with its border towns and villages regularly coming under shelling and drone strikes.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian forces have made small advances against Russian forces on the outskirts of Bakhmut, the eastern Ukrainian city that Moscow claims to have captured, according to Maliar, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister.
Maliar declared on Tuesday that Ukrainian troops continue to control the southwestern outskirts of the city and that fighting continues in the border area.
(With information from EFE, AFP, AP)
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