April 13, 2024

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Russian armed groups based in Ukraine claim responsibility for launching raids on Russia

Russian armed groups based in Ukraine claim responsibility for launching raids on Russia
  • Written by Yaroslav Lukiev
  • BBC News

Image source, Telegram/Freedom Corps of Russia

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Russia's Freedom Corps said Russia must be “liberated from Putin's dictatorship.”

Three Russian paramilitary groups based in Ukraine said they had crossed the border into Russia and were now fighting government forces there.

Russia's Freedom Legion (FRL) and Siberian Battalion (SB) have released videos purportedly showing their fighters in Russia's Belgorod and Kursk regions.

The Foreign Intelligence Service and an exiled Russian politician claimed that two villages were now controlled by “liberation forces”.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the hacking attempts were thwarted.

The Ukrainian army denied any involvement in the cross-border raids on Tuesday. Andrei Yusov, the country's military intelligence spokesman, said the paramilitary groups are “independent organizations” affiliated with Russian citizens and therefore operate “internally.”

In a separate development, Russia said that Ukraine launched 25 drones at targets across Russia, but the attack was thwarted.

However, videos have emerged that appear to appear to be on fire at several Russian oil facilities.

In the Ivanovo region, east of Moscow, an Il-76 military transport plane with a crew of eight and seven passengers on board crashed shortly after take-off, according to official Russian news agencies quoting the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The ministry said that an engine fire caused the accident. No details were given about the survivors.

Videos emerged purporting to show the plane on fire as it spun in the sky, with plumes of black smoke later rising from the crash site.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's sweeping invasion of Ukraine has entered its third year, with no signs that Europe's biggest war since World War II might end soon.

On Tuesday, the FRL published what it said was a video from the Russian-Ukrainian border.

“Like all our compatriots, we in the Legion dream of a Russia freed from Putin’s dictatorship. But we don’t just dream: we make every effort to realize these dreams. We will take our land from the regime, by one centimeter.” centimetres,” an armed Rwandan armed forces soldier is heard saying in the footage.

Meanwhile, the Special Security Battalion said that “violent fighting is taking place on the territory of the Russian Federation,” and published a video showing its fighters clashing with Russian government forces.

It also condemned the Russian presidential elections scheduled for March 15-17, in which Putin is widely expected to be declared the winner.

“Ballots and polling stations in this case are a fantasy. You can only truly change your life for the better with guns in your hands,” SB said.

Another Ukraine-based Russian group, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), also released footage of what it said were its fighters clashing with Russian government forces.

She added, “The Kremlin regime's army is laying down its weapons without starting the battle.”

The videos have not been independently verified.

The border village of Titkino in the Kursk region appeared to be one of the targets in Tuesday's raids, with the Rwandan armed forces claiming that “liberation forces” were now in full control of the settlement.

The BBC has verified the authenticity of FRL footage depicting a raid on an armored personnel carrier in Tetkino.

Kursk Mayor Igor Kutsak ordered all schools in the regional capital to put in distance learning from March 13 to 15 “in connection with recent events.”

He also warned that the “missile alert” system is still in place in the city, which has a population of more than 400,000 people.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian opposition politician based in Ukraine, Ilya Ponomarev, claimed that the border village of Lozovaya Rudka in the Belgorod region was “under the complete control of the liberation forces.”

In a statement issued later on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that its forces, in cooperation with border guards and FSB units, “thwarted an attempt by the Kiev regime to achieve a breakthrough” into Russia.

It added that enemy fighters – supported by tanks and armored personnel carriers – attempted to invade Russia “simultaneously in three directions in the areas of the Odnoropovka, Nekhotivka and Spodaryushino settlements of the Belgorod region.”

She added that four other attacks targeted Tetkino, but they were “repelled.”

Russian armed groups based in Ukraine have conducted several cross-border raids since the start of the full invasion of Ukraine.

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